Crespi Looks Forward To Next Challenge

Joseph Fauria realizes that his future teammates are struggling, but he isn't focused on them at this time. Fauria and his Crespi High School (Encino, Calif.) teammates will be facing one of the nation's top teams for the conference title this weekend. Crespi's opponent, Notre Dame High school, is led by two of his future teammates, linebacker Anthony McDonald and quarterback Dayne Crist.

Crespi didn't start the season off the way they had envisioned. When their starting quarterback went down in the first series of the first game, Joseph Fauria (6-foot-7, 250 pounds) and his teammates didn't let the season unravel, instead they showed their mettle. They bounced off the turf the next play and served notice that they were ready for any challenge that came their way.

"I'm mainly focused on finishing my senior season with my team and coming out of the league in the best position as possible," Fauria responded when asked about his season. "Our two main goals for the season are, to win our league championship and to play after Thanksgiving. It's been a tough season, but that's where we are at right now, and that is what I'm focusing on.

"We have a great team all round. We have a lot of depth and it showed when Kevin [Prince] went down in our first game. What shows the character of our team, is what happened the play after Kevin got hurt. Our running back, Austin Shanks, took the ball 50 or 60 yards for a touchdown. That play alone didn't make us a better team, but it did show the character of the team, because we all fed off of that play and we've gotten stronger as the season has worn on."

Crespi has been on a roll, as the team has surged to a 7-2 record. They have been dominating opponents, and everything had been running smoothly, but that would change. Leading up to last week's conference game against Loyola, the team would face two emotional tests.

"Our team had an emotional week before the Loyola game," Fauria described. "Our quarterback (Kevin Prince) who got injured early in the season just had surgery. He came to practice for the first time today. He was a great quarterback his junior year and he'll continue to be a great quarterback when he gets backs.

"We also had a teammate from two years ago pass away," Fauria explained. "We were really emotional last week. It was a tough week, but we handled everything pretty well. We have a good rivalry with Loyola, so you know you're going to get a good game against them. Our offense was clicking and the defense played great. We played hard, and the win came as a result of all of it."

Despite the emotions of the week, Crespi dismantled Loyola 38-7. Fauria is having a strong season, and this game was no different as he made an impact on both sides of the ball.

"I caught two touchdowns," Fauria explained. "One was a two-yard touchdown catch and I caught a touchdown out of our "Razor" formation. It's similar to the one Arkansas runs when they direct snap it to Darren McFadden and then he throws the ball.

"I didn't really have a big stat game on defense, but I did my job. I only had three tackles and one hurry. I'm generally on the weak-side, but my coach put me on the tight end side and I ended up having a real solid game. Loyola intercepted a tipped ball and returned it to the five. That was the only score they had. Otherwise we pretty much shut them down."

This Friday night the level of competition will step up a notch as Crespi faces Notre Dame High School for the league championship.

"We played them for the championship last year also," Fauria said. "We're a better team this year and we're going to go into their house; we're going to go in confident. We respect them, but we don't fear them. We're going to show them that it will be a tough game, it will go down to the end and we're going to give them everything that we have. If we win this game, we'll probably be a high seed, but if we lose we'll probably have a much harder first-round game."

Although Fauria is focusing on his teammates, he has taken time to look at his future teammates. Despite their struggles, he doesn't appear to be concerned about the future of the program.

"I saw most of the Navy game," Fauria said. "It was surprising, but they're going to get better, and I know that coach Weis will get it done. That's really all there is to say… I believe in coach Weis and he'll get it done."

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