In the Air Force football program, the present and future play a larger role than sentimentality. Just as sophomore quarterback Shaun Carney will start over senior Adam Fitch when the Falcons meet New Mexico on Saturday in the season finale, other underclassmen who are No. 1 on the depth chart also will get the nod. That was made clear when coach Fisher De-Berry was asked Tuesday if he planned to make a gesture to the half-dozen seniors who play be- hind sophomores and juniors. “Not at all. We’re going to win the football game in any way we can,” said DeBerry, hoping to stop a three-game slide. “That doesn’t mean we don’t have confidence in those guys, but they haven’t started all year long. We’re going with the guys who are the best at this particular time, that can help us have a better chance to win the game.” There are four seniors on offense and six on defense who will start against the Lobos. Among them are Jon Wilson, a center, who understands he and his fellow seniors will have to fight their emotions in Albuquerque. “For the last eight years — nine years for some of us, because I went to the prep school — you’ve been a football player,” the 6-4, 300-pound Wilson said. “So this game is the culmination of all the work and all the years. I’ve never done anything in my life for nine years, except play football, so it’s kind of a weird feeling. But you have to put it out of your mind, because you don’t want to do anything differently.” Senior safety Denny Poland agreed. “You think back at all the years you’ve played, all the different guys you’ve played with, and all the big wins, and it’s all coming to an end in this game,” Poland said. “At the same time, there are a lot of things you have to focus on. During the game, your mind’s occupied by your opponent.” Carney knows he has a responsibility to send the seniors out as winners. “I take a lot of pride in it,” he said. “I love those guys a lot and I trust them, and I know I owe it to them to give my best. And I think they know, from playing with me and everybody else on this team, that we’re going to give our all so they can go out (with a victory).” DeBerry expects nothing less. “The last game that you play is probably the game that you remember the most,” De-Berry said. “So I look forward to our seniors playing maybe as great a football game as they’ve ever played in their career.” DeBerry not going anywhere DeBerry told The Associated Press Tuesday he plans to stay with the Falcons. “I’ve been disappointed over some of the issues that have arisen,” he told the AP. “My expectations were always very, very high. The day they are not high, then I would feel I would be cheating our staff, the institution and our players.” DeBerry was criticized earlier this season for saying the Falcons didn’t have enough black players. DeBerry told the AP none of the off-thefield problems have bothered him much. “It’s not been difficult for me at all personally,” he said. “I’m a tough old bird. I can handle a lot of things.” DeBerry is under contract through 2009. NEXT AFA (3-7, 1-5) at N.M. (6-4, 4-3), 12:30 p.m. Sat., 740/560 AM
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