Head Coach: Rob Cushman (2nd Year)
2002 Recap: The Eagles completed their freshman campaign with a 6-5 record, losing to Santa Rosa, 63-13, in the CLO Bowl at Santa Rosa. Despite the postseason setback, coach Cushman noted, "We exceeded expectations by learning the correct way to play while winning, not just by trying to be competitive." With nearly every athlete being a first-year player in the new program, Cushman remarked on the importance of cohesion at the JC level: "Our success got the kids believing in our system and believing in each other."
2003 Outlook: With only one sophomore departing, the Eagles will have an experienced club this season, returning 38 veterans from 2002. "Experience pays off and leads to better execution on both sides of the ball. There is nothing like game-day experience," Cushman remarked. Feather River returns nine starters on offense, including standout QB D.J. Porter (5-9, 165). In addition to their experience, the Eagles have good team speed at the skill positions. Possessing some of that speed is WR Kyle Backlund (6-3, 190) and RB Antoine White (6-0, 195), who Cushman said is an "outstanding runner." Despite many of the same players returning, Cushman expects marked improvement along both the offensive and defensive lines.
Defensively, the sophomore program returns 10 starters, but up front a newcomer is one to watch. Freshman DE Charles Manu (6-4, 260) from Reno, Nevada may have the most impact out of the 50 new players on the Eagles roster. Safety Kevin Adams (6-1, 195) returns in the secondary and is being "heavily recruited" according to Cushman. At linebacker, Feather River returns two all-league performers in Rusty Hale (6-1, 220) and Darrell Flannigan (6-1, 225). Despite the experience, depth, and team speed, Cushman is cautious in predicting greater success than last year. "Although our first team set the bar pretty high for this year, we surprised folks and snuck up on teams. We won't sneak up on anyone this year and teams are primed to play us," he explained.
First Game: Feather River opens 2003 against Yuba at home this Saturday.