The Riverside Rangers have a lot to play for in 2019, and they are certainly up for the challenge.
The Rangers enter the season with a new head coach, and this season they’ll be playing for a beloved Riverside graduate who lost his battle with cancer over the summer.
Gary Recoder takes over a Riverside football program that finished 3-7 a season ago.
He was previously the offensive coordinator at Coronado High School, and the players love having him at the helm because he’s also a former Ranger.
Recoder graduated from Riverside in 2000, and he’s happy to be back at his old stomping grounds.
“It’s been a good adjustment. As you know I’m alumni, so it’s easier for me to come back home,” Recoder said. “I loved coaching those Coronado kids, they’re great character kids, but to come back home and coach the kids that I grew up in this neighborhood, that’s been a blessing.”
For Riverside quarterback, Isaac Pickard, the goal for the Rangers this season is simple, win a district title, and he feels they have the right coach to get the job done.
“On offense, coach Recoder is giving us the opportunity to do something big that we didn’t have last year,” Pickard said. “Last year, we ran the same plays over and over, this year we really opened up the offense more.”
The Rangers have dedicated their season to Ezra Castro, also known as “Pancho Billa.”
Castro graduated from Riverside and was a Buffalo Bills superfan who even got to announce some draft picks for the Bills.
Castro died in May after a battle with cancer and the rangers will be wearing a decal of “Pancho Billa” on their helmets for the upcoming season.
Coach Recoder says he went to school with Castro, and that Castro was a class act.
“I graduated with his wife, and he was just a good family dude,” Recoder said. “Anybody that knew Ezra Castro knew that he was a good guy and the least we could do as a program is to have his logo on the back of our helmet and that’s a big time thing.”
The Riverside Rangers open up the 2019 season at home against San Elizario.