With one regular-season game and likely a bowl left to play, Christian Rossi is finishing up his two-year career as the Fresno City College quarterback.
That’s after deciding to stop playing baseball and focus solely on football.
The results: Rossi has completed 173 of 276 (62.2 percent) of his passes for a state ninth-best 2,359 yards and fifth-best 25 touchdowns against nine interceptions.
He hopes to add to that when the NorCal National Division ninth-ranked Rams (5-4, 2-2 Valley Conference) face No. 14 Sequoias (4-5, 0-4) at 1 p.m. Saturday at Ratcliffe Stadium in the Bill Musick Memorial game.
“Our pass game has probably been our strong point,” Rossi said. “A lot easier in my second year in the program, just with the offense. I know the offense as well as just about anybody. We have incredible weapons on the outside and it makes it a lot easier for me to trust guys on fade routes when they’re covered up pretty well and put it on their back shoulder, knowing that they’re going to get the ball.”
Rossi arrived at Fresno City in summer 2014 after deciding to leave Cal State Fullerton, where he had received a baseball scholarship coming out of Clovis North High. Last season, he completed 100 of 170 passes for 1,243 yards and 14 touchdowns while sharing time with Nolan Sorensen. He also had three rushing touchdowns.
“He had to get his football legs back,” coach Tony Caviglia said. “Get comfortable with the position and what we expected out of him at quarterback.”
Rossi capped that year by leading the Rams to a 35-21 victory over Santa Rosa at the State Center Bowl. This year, he thrived even while battling injuries. Against Butte, he suffered wrist and ankle injuries; against Reedley, it was a sprained clavicle on his throwing-arm side.
The latter injury affected him in games vs. Laney, Chabot and Delta. Rossi felt better last week against Modesto, a game in which he passed for 235 yards and three touchdowns in a 55-42 victory.
“He’s at a point where he’s been a master as to what we’re doing on offense,” Caviglia said.
Rossi has fulfilled much of the promise he showed at Clovis North, where as a senior he led the Broncos to a 12-2 record and a Central Section Division I championship.
“At Clovis North, I was also blessed with weapons,” he said. “Every quarterback wants to have guys that will fight for the ball. Obviously I had (David) Wells, (Josh) Lovingood and some huge targets. These guys are just as good. All great athletes and it helps for a quarterback.”
Rossi is eager to make the next leap to NCAA Division I. Buffalo, Indiana, San Diego State and Utah are said to have interest
“Been ready for it for a long time,” he said. “I wouldn’t say it’s been a hard two years, but I’m ready to make my next move. It will be special when it all works out.”
Caviglia’s target – The Rams coach can tie Clare Slaughter on Saturday as the program’s career leader in victories. Slaughter went 136-61-6 in 20 seasons; Caviglia is 135-50 in 17 years.
Big matchup in Coalinga – On the line for American Division second-ranked West Hills and No. 1 Hartnell at 1 p.m. Saturday is the Golden Coast Conference championship.
It is a repeat of last season’s game, only the Falcons (8-1, 5-0) had to travel to Salinas and lost 24-16.
West Hills’ defense paces the state, allowing 12.9 points per game. The Panthers (9-0, 5-0) are fourth in scoring defense (16.9 ppg) and lead in sacks (48).
▪ American fifth-ranked Reedley hosts No. 7 Monterey at 6 p.m. Saturday at Reedley High. The Tigers (5-4, 3-2) are coming off a 23-20 loss to Hartnell.
- Sequoias (4-5, 0-4 Valley) at Fresno City (5-4, 2-2), 1 p.m.
- Hartnell (9-0, 5-0 Golden Coast) at West Hills (8-1, 5-0), 1 p.m.
- Monterey (5-4, 3-2 Golden Coast) at Reedley (5-4, 3-2), 6 p.m.
FRESNO CITY SCORES, SCHEDULE
at De Anza
W, 42-41 (OT)
vs. San Francisco
vs. San Joaquin Delta