Rico Rosario: The Driving Force into the Playoffs

Story By: Ben Hensley and Moises Buitrago

Sophomore running back Rico Rosario was arguably one of the most influential and productive members of the 2019 Rams’ football team. Compiling 925 yards this season alone, Rosario held the team’s head above water for much of the Rams’ games in conference, with 560 of his yards on the ground coming in the Rams’ five conference games.

Rosario, a native out of Honolulu, Hawaii, decided to attend Fresno City College after an in-person visit with Rams head coach Tony Caviglia.

“His attitude just wears on people, and the players emulate him,” said Caviglia. “A good leader will make people around him better, and that’s Rico.”

Rosario, who was slowed by injuries for part of the season receives high praise from his coaches for being an “old school style” running back, citing his great footwork and vision, but also his vastly improved performance in the passing game, increasing his catches from just two in the 2018 campaign, to 16 in 2019.

“He checks every box,” offensive coordinator Mark Hetherington said. “The thing we love about him is if we can give him the ball enough we believe he is going to carry us to victory.”

Arguably, Rosario’s biggest performance of the year came on the biggest stage for the Rams — facing their conference rival the Modesto Pirates. Late in the game, Rosario rattled off an 11-yard touchdown run, effectively sealing the deal for the Rams over their rival. Rosario ended the game against the Pirates with 139 yards and one touchdown.

Rosario, never one to take all of the credit for his accolades, considers himself a team player first. Following the game against the Pirates, Rosario credited his offensive linemen for helping push his team to victory.

“Shoutout to my offensive linemen and my defense; they played a hell of a game,” said Rosario following what was an emotional and rewarding victory, essentially sealing the deal for the Rams to repeat as back-to-back conference champions.

“He gave us a spark and injected some big-play capability that pretty much helped us win a conference championship,” said Caviglia of Rosario’s contribution to the team.

Despite the successes that Rosario has had as a Ram, leaving his home state to play football left him with feelings of homesickness. A new community meant trying to make new friends.
However, Rosario has found his place at FCC. He was able to find a group of friends that he now calls “brothers.”

“I was able to hang out with people and make new friends, I felt like I was at home again,” Rosario said about his teammates and the bonds that he formed on and off the field the past two years.

According to Caviglia and Hetherington, Rosario has become a person that players gravitate towards because of his easy-going personality.

Hetherington adds that first year running backs seek Rosario’s advice, and Rosario is eager to help out.

“It’s not beneath him to give some advice to some of the younger [running] backs, because he was in their shoes last year,” Hetherington said. “I just can’t say enough about him as being an unselfish football player, a smart football player, tough, instinctive. He’s a winner.”