Up by just a touchdown at the half, leading 17-10, Escalon’s varsity Cougars doubled their score in the second half and sent Ripon home, knocking the Indians out of the football playoffs.
With a 34-10 victory at Engel Field on Friday night, Nov. 19, the Cougars secured their spot in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 5 championship game. They will face off with Hilmar in an all Trans-Valley League final.
Hilmar hosted and defeated Casa Roble on Friday night, winning 41-8.
That sets up the showdown for the Section title between the two longtime TVL rivals, with the game scheduled on Saturday, Nov. 27 at 6 p.m., St. Mary’s High School in Stockton.
Escalon used a relentless ground attack in the second half to pull away, paced by the hard-charging Ryker Peters, the junior fullback who has emerged as the workhorse late in the season.
“It’s fun to have my line block for me,” Peters said following the Friday night win. “Honestly, everything I’ve done these past two games, I give them all the glory. It’s not a one man show; everyone has to contribute in some way.”
The Cougars also had the edge in turnovers – intercepting a couple of Ripon passes – that effectively took away any momentum the Indians tried to gain in the second half.
Look for the full game story, player reaction and photos in the Nov. 24 issue of The Times.