AVON — Former Avon Football standout, Brandon Fuentes, is part of a breakthrough season taking place for St. John Fisher as the Cardinals travel to Texas to face Mary Hardin-Baylor for the Elite 8 of DIII football.
Last week the Cardinals upset Hobart to advance out of the ‘Sweet 16’ and into the ‘Elite 8’ where they will now face Mary Hardin-Baylor, who is ranked 3rd in the nation.
“Win and advance is the ultimate goal,” said Fuentes, who was a star running back while at Avon and has now transitioned to defensive back and kick return. “You always have to go into with the mindset you can do it and you prepare so that you can beat anyone.”
The Cardinals are on a roll with a 10-2 overall record and have not lost since Halloween, one of those wins came against Alfred at the Courage Bowl who had some of Fuentes former teammates their roster.
“It was great facing some of my former teammates and coming out with the victory,” said Fuentes, who had a fumble recovery which included a 25 yard run back. “We have been in playoff mode for a long time but we keep stepping up as a team and earning the victory.”
After Avon Fuentes spent his first year at DIII powerhouse Mount Union where he was a wide receiver, but since transferring to the Cardinals has transition to defense and kick returns which has furthered his passion for the game.
“It’s definitely more of a team environment and atmosphere here, I feel that we have a stronger bond between the guys and that’s something the other schools lack,” said Fuentes, who also has 1 interception that he returned for 92 yards. “I like the change to defense, it’s fun to go out there and get after the guys.”
Fisher made it into the playoffs with an at large bid and has made the most of it since defeating then 9th ranked John Carroll and the defeating previously unbeaten Hobart which was ranked 8th.
According to Fuentes the players work hard, spending nearly 40 hours a week on football and training in addition to their studies.
“Our philosophy comes from our coaches and our captains,” said Fuentes, who has bulked up since his Avon from 165 lbs to 185 lbs through training and diet. “You set goals before the season and along the way but everyone eventually wants to be a national champion someday.”