LANCASTER – A little more than a month ago, it was unclear whether Antelope Valley Christian High would be able to field a football team. The tiny Lancaster boarding school had just three players – senior lineman Nathan Blade, freshman lineman Alex Clark and sophomore fullback Logan Fimi – practicing in late August, largely because a significant portion of the school’s student population is foreign students who didn’t report to the campus until a week before classes began Sept. 12. “It was extremely grim,” said A.V. Christian coach and athletic director Mark Ligons, who canceled several games but was hoping enough players would show up to save the season. Practice numbers started growing when students arrived in early September, and by mid-September the Eagles knew they’d be able to play eight-man football. A.V. Christian suited up 18 players for Saturday’s season opener, a 32-18 nonleague loss to Pacific Lutheran of Torrance. “We really didn’t do too bad, considering what we’ve gone through,” Ligons said. Freshman running back David Hunter and Takumi Kubo have emerged as top players for the Eagles, who will participate in the newly formed, four-team Desert Sands League when they play host to local rival Bethel Christian at 1 p.m. on Saturday. Other league teams are Trona and Lone Pine. “I think this will be a stepping stone,” said Ligons, A.V. Christian’s 14-year coach. “This is probably the most enthusiastic group I’ve had in a long time. They’re having fun out there playing and practicing, and I’m having fun coaching them.” On the run: The addition of a solid passing game has made Rosamond (2-2) less predictable. With running back Spencer Rodney back at full strength after severe dehydration limited his playing time earlier this season, the Roadrunners are back to doing what they traditionally do best – running the ball. After averaging 60 rushing yards in his first two games, Rodney has 277 yards in the past two games, including 113 in Friday’s 28-7 nonleague victory over Blair of Pasadena. “We’re trying to air it out a little more, but, ultimately, we’re still Rosamond High School, and we want to establish the running game,” Rosamond coach Kevin Rizer said. “That’s still who we are.” One less game: Mojave High had a week off because a scheduled game against L.A. Baptist of North Hills had been canceled last spring. L.A. Baptist, which has played Mojave every year since 1997, canceled the game because an anticipated realignment of the Gold Coast Athletic Conference would have eliminated the Olympic League. Mojave didn’t learn of the cancellation until early April, and it was very difficult for the remote campus to add a team to its schedule at such a late date. Mojave coach and athletic director Larry Satterfield said finding a Week 4 opponent was “next to impossible.” Mojave maintained its No. 2 ranking in the Southern Section Div. XII coaches’ poll. It is No. 6 in the Daily News’ Small Schools rankings. “We would have preferred to have 10 games, but sometimes those things happen,” Satterfield said. Also: Vasquez (5-0), a freelance team, continued its best start in school history with a 35-14 victory Saturday over Bell-Jeff of Burbank. If the game had been played Friday, as originally scheduled, the Mustangs would have tied a state record for victories in a calendar month. … There was no movement among the top seven teams in the Southern Section Div. XII coaches’ poll. Vasquez is No. 4, and Rosamond is No. 6. … Mojave added Vasquez, Fillmore and Paraclete to its schedule for next season. Gideon Rubin, (818)713-3607 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!