Escalon used a familiar formula – a tough defense and a return to a smashmouth running game in the second half – to take the win over Hilmar in the Section championship contest on Saturday night, Nov. 27.
The final score was 20-13 Escalon, securing the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 5 banner with the win at St. Mary’s High School in Stockton. The Cougars got two rushing touchdowns – a 66-yard rumble from Ryker Peters and a 3-yard drive up the middle from JP Lial – along with a 45-yard pass from Donovan Rozevink to Owen Nash for the score in the victory.
It marked the second Trans-Valley League team the Cougars have beaten in the postseason, winning over Ripon in the semifinals and then defeating Hilmar for the title. The Escalon squad had also beaten both opponents during the regular season on the way to a perfect 6-0 mark in the TVL.
It was a 14-7 Escalon lead at the half; they saw Hilmar trim the lead to 14-13 in the third quarter but got a fourth quarter score for a 20-13 lead. The defense made one big final stop to give the ball back to the Cougars with the chance to run out the clock.
Look for the full story, photos in the Dec. 1 issue of The Times.