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Homecoming loss tempered with late TD

The score stood at 40-0 as 11 exhausted men looked toward the 60 yards of grass ahead of them. While much of the homecoming crowd had left, many committed parents and students still looked on to support the Eagles on Oct. 14.

With quarterback J.D. Perry, ?07, moving the ball, FC began one last drive to break the shutout. After moving the ball from their side of midfield to inside the 30-yard line, there was less than three minutes left in the game.

Two plays later, Perry handed the ball off to runningback, Chris Erickson, ?07, at the 25-yard line and Erickson seemed to will his way through the Firebaugh line.

For the first time in the game, the FC offensive line seemed determined to open a lane for the junior back as he headed for the end zone. Erickson had the crowd on their feet as he hit the five-yard line and seemed to carry three Aztec defenders across the end zone for the lone touchdown.

?Since only three minutes were left in the fourth quarter and we still hadn?t scored,” Erickson said, “we decided to put it all on the line to keep from being shutout during our own homecoming game.”

The Eagles have never been shutout on homecoming night.

?I just wanted to score,? Erickson said. ?We had never been shut out on homecoming and it was our last drive for a touchdown, so I gave everything towards that run.?

Though Firebaugh won, 40-6, the touchdown raised FC?s morale and gave an element of fun to what seemed an unfavorable outcome. The TD was a moral victory in a season with few offensive highlights.

?Erickson?s touchdown gave us hope that we could still score against our competitors and exemplified a no-quit attitude for the season,? defensive end Jeremy Ramos, ?07, said.

With an overall record of 1-6 and a NWSL record of 0-1, the Eagles have managed to make the best of their situation, enjoying the comradely and adrenaline rushes that Friday nights offer.

Perry finished the game with his best night as an Eagle QB going 5-12 for 84 yards and two interceptions while Erickson finished with 55 yards rushing on 10 carries and caught a 15-yard pass.

?By the fourth quarter we were able to bring both offense and defense together for a touchdown driven purely by determination,? Greg Kilgore, ?07, injured quarterback, said. ?It just doesn?t happen much.?

Among the Aztec?s aerial domination, senior quarterback Stephen Hurt connected with fellow senior Michael Barragan for two gains of 44 and 39 yards. Together the duo completed 111 total yards and made two touchdowns by the first half.

In the end, Hurt completed 13-21 passes for 267 yards and four touchdowns while senior safety Pedro Garcia completed 68 yards rushing on 10 carries with two interceptions.

?Their quarterback baffled our defense and limited our ability to execute a counterattack against their passes,? John Hall, varsity coach, said. ?We did manage a good run defense which kept their rushing to a minimum.?

The team travels next to play the Hawks of Liberty-Madera Ranchos on Oct. 21.

?Though their star runningback rushes about 100 yards per game, we actually feel confident about our Liberty rivals and hope for an early lead in the first half,? Hall said.

For more information or directions to Liberty or other games, contact the high school office at 293-1695, ext. 5, or scroll to the right Links toolbar of this online newspaper and click on Maps and Directions.

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