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Chico Is Next Stop For Football Cougars
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Escalon varsity football players show the Section blue banner and smile for family and friends taking photos following their 41-27 defeat of Hilmar in the Division 6 title game on Saturday at Lincoln High School in Stockton. Head coach Andrew Beam, at right, fields questions from the media as his players celebrate beside him. Marg Jackson/The Times

The benefit of winning a Section title? You get to keep playing football.

The potential downside of putting together a tremendous season? You get moved up a division – or two – for a NorCal game.

Escalon’s varsity Cougars won the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 6 title in another classic game against the Hilmar Yellowjackets on Saturday, Nov. 30. On Sunday, they learned where they will go next to try and keep their season going. The team will head to Pleasant Valley High School in Chico to take on the host Vikings.

“In the last six years, they have won two NorCals and two runner-ups and have two state championships,” head coach Andrew Beam said of facing the squad. “They are in Division 2, a large school.”

Also, the school’s most famous alumni is Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Escalon was in Division 6 for the Section but will play in Division 4 for the NorCal game.

A win there could potentially earn them a berth in a state title game.

But, said Beam, first things first, as there is plenty of work to be done ahead of the 6 p.m. kickoff on Saturday, Dec. 7.

Beam said the Cougars being moved up after earning a share of the Trans-Valley League title, claiming the Section crown and going 12-1 so far on the season “showed what the Selection Committee thought of our program” and the Cougars will do their best to live up to the billing.

“Two Section champions before December is pretty special,” Beam added of the varsity football and varsity volleyball teams both winning blue banners in November. “Anything else is just icing on the cake.”