Caviglia and Rams Looking Forward to 2019 Season


Photo by: Ben Hensley

Head coach Tony Caviglia rallies the team during their practice on Tuesday, Aug. 27 2019. The Rams’ first home game is against Siskiyous on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019.

Story By: Ben Hensley, Sports Editor

The FCC football team has been hard at work all summer preparing for another exciting season of Rams’ football.

Coming off the heels of a disappointing 24-7 loss against Laney College in the semifinal game of the CCCAA State Championship, the Rams look to improve on a season that held both challenges and disappointment, as well as the rise of future FCC star players.

“This is a good, hard working football team,” head coach Tony Caviglia said in anticipation of the teams’ scrimmage against Chabot College this Thursday. “They just come to work, and it’s a good sign.”

Looking ahead to a season that sees them play American River, who come off a runner-up performance in the NorCal conference to Butte College – a playoff contender from 2018, and eventual state champion Laney College, the Rams will hope that their work ethic is able to push them over the top during a three week stretch which sees them play all three of those opponents in consecutive games.

The three teams combined record in 2018 was 27-8, led by Laney who posted an 11-2 record.

“Our schedule is a dogfight every week,” Caviglia said of the schedule, which boasts multiple bowl teams, as well as the two playoff competitors. “Our first two games we’re playing quality opponents. We have to go up to Santa Rosa and play. They’re much improved.”

Siskiyous also looks to be a challenge for the Rams, who had their game last year rescheduled due to the northern california fires.

The Rams, coming off a 9-3 season which saw the Rams post a 5-0 mark in conference play, will look to sophomore quarterback and conference player of the year Jonah Johnson to lead the team in his first full season under center.

“Offensively, it all starts with our quarterback Jonah Johnson,” Caviglia said. “He pretty much took over the team at the midway point.”

Johnson, coming off a labrum repair surgery in 2018, posted a 61.4 completion percentage, completing 102 of 166 passes for 18 touchdowns against only two interceptions.

He also ran for 302 yards and two touchdowns in ten games played.

“He’s had a tremendous offseason. We’re really excited to watch him play,” Caviglia continued. “He’s going to be one of the most special guys we’ve ever coached.”

Coming off a season which saw him play in all 12 games, Rico Rosario looks to be the other head of the offense out of the backfield. The sophomore running back comes off a season totalling 688 yards on the ground, averaging 6.1 yards per carry paired with seven touchdowns.

“Rico is a year better, a year stronger, a year faster, and he’s gonna be exciting to watch,” Caviglia said enthusiastically about the running game.

Freshman Chris Bailey looks to start at the tight end position, and has been praised for his size, versatility and receiving ability.

“He’s tall, lean, got great hands, good blocker. It’s hard to find those tight ends that can do a lot of different things,” Caviglia said of his 6’4”, 240 pound freshman.

One thing every great team needs however, is leadership. Without leadership, both from the coaching positions as well as fellow players, a team is no better than the talent it has. To harness that talent, teams need not only commitment, but leadership as well.

For the Rams, leadership is in no short supply.

“We’ve been together [coaches] for a lot of years,” Caviglia said in support of his coaching staff. “We have the same staff back from last year, except we added Wylie Brand, a former player, who’s gonna help us coach the tight ends.”

“The core group has been together, and that’s the beauty of Fresno City football, it’s continuity; we don’t have a bad year, and we haven’t had a bad year.”

Former players also have a huge role in implementing new students into the system that Caviglia has built as well. He attributes much of the success of the team to sophomores being great leaders to the incoming freshmen.

“I just remind them every year, ‘remember when you came to Fresno City for the first time and how your head was swimming and looking for help,’” Caviglia said of his returning players’ ability to lead moving forward.

“You like to have a sophomore player that’s been through the rigors of college athletics and college academics to help and guide them, and our sophomores have done that.”

Caviglia speaks very highly of his sophomore players and their ability to keep the new players involved and comfortable in the new environment as a college athlete.

“Well we’ve pretty much had everybody here this summer,” Caviglia said. “The strength gains that we’ve had in the weight room are fantastic.”

Caviglia speaks highly of his players ability to become bigger, faster and stronger and their commitment to being the best players they can be.

Overall, the Rams look to be prepared to face a difficult season that lies ahead of them. Looking to defend their title as Central Valley Conference champions.

The Rams first official home game this year will be on Sept 14, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. against Siskiyous College.

The Rams will be hosting a scrimmage against Chabot College this Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019 at 4:00 p.m. at Ratcliff Stadium.