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Successful Road Trip To Bret Harte For Varsity Football Cougars
Bret Harte may have run 32 offensive plays to Escalon's 13 in the first half ... but it was the Cougars who were on top where it counted - on the scoreboard - by the time Friday night's game in Angels Camp was over.

The varsity football Cougars took a 34-9 win off the field, upending the host Bullfrogs and making a solid statement, both offensively and defensively.

"Our defense bent, bent, bent, but it didn't break," head coach Mark Loureiro said.

Bret Harte took the opening kickoff and promptly made headway, chewing up much of the first quarter clock and making several first down conversions on the way to a 22-yard field goal. But that, Loureiro said, is something he will take.

"To hold that offense to 3 points, that was great for our defense," he said of keeping the Bullfrogs out of the end zone.

Escalon got the ball on offense for the first time with 4:16 to play in the first quarter but ended up punting it away. Bret Harte was on a drive as time wound down in the opening frame and they held it for a few more minutes in the second quarter before having to punt.

Fullback Josh May checked in to the game in the second quarter and had two successive carries, the first for 13 yards and the second for 67 yards, finding the end zone at the end of that run. The kick by Jesus Duran was good and Escalon led it 7-3 with 7:39 to go in the first half.

It was May's first game back, coming off knee surgery, and coach Loureiro was happy to have him back in uniform.

"Josh's second run brought us to life," Loureiro admitted of the huge 67-yard scamper. "People have to give him attention when he's in there and that frees it up for us to use other people."

Bret Harte went on another drive and completed a few series, opting to go for it on a fourth down play and failing to convert, giving Escalon the ball at the 14-yard line with 2:45 to go. May had a few carries and Rocky Overturf had a nice first down conversion, but the clock ran out before the Cougars could get back in the end zone, so they went into the half up by a 7-3 verdict.

They quickly made some noise in the second half, Jake Caton taking the kickoff out to the 43-yard line on a nice return and then a nifty misdirection play seeing quarterback Nick Aprile break free for a 57 yard touchdown run. With the kick, Escalon opened up a 14-3 lead, scoring before Bret Harte was even ready to start the second half.

"We shocked them with that misdirection," Loureiro agreed, adding that it fired up his players even more and they were eager to clamp down defensively and keep the Bullfrogs under control.

An interception by Duran on Bret Harte's next possession stopped a scoring threat and the Cougars found the end zone on their next possession, going for it on a fourth and 12 deep in Bullfrog territory. Aprile appeared to be in trouble after taking the snap but scrambled in the backfield as his offensive line held off the Bullfrogs, giving him enough time to find Blake Nayer in the left corner of the end zone and Nayer went up, pulled in the pass and held on to it for the score. Duran's kick was no good, but the score gave Escalon some breathing room, up 20-3 with 4:52 to play in the third quarter.