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Crowning Moment - Archuleta Chosen Homecoming Queen
From the California-themed floats to the blowout football wins from both the JV and varsity squads Friday night, Escalon's Homecoming was a huge success and included the crowning of Leah Archuleta as the 2011 Homecoming Queen.

"It has been nerve-wracking, exciting, I had butterflies just wondering," Leah said of the hectic, fast-paced flurry of activity that makes up Homecoming Week.

Escorted to midfield by her dad, Edward Archuleta, Leah joined fellow candidates in being saluted by the community for their involvement and representation of EHS. Candidates included Kaylyn Lee, Mary Merseth, Michelle Pinasco and Sydney Wendland in addition to Leah. Serving as emcees for the Friday night ceremony were junior Homecoming Commissioners Nickey Homen and Taylor Carnes.

When her name was announced during halftime of Friday night's varsity game, there was a rush of emotion for the senior, who was laughing, crying, accepting hugs and being laden down with gifts presented by the football team captains, Shane Silveira, Josh Miguel, Gino Franceschetti and Nate Caton. Her crown was presented by the 2010 Homecoming Queen, Cara Sharp. A Cougar mascot, Leah's fellow cheerleaders stormed the field to surround her and share the joy. A 'victory lap' followed in a convertible, with mom Judy Archuleta on hand, recording the moment.

"That's all I had thought about," Leah admitted of the week and wondering about who would get the crown. "It was hard to do my homework."

She is the youngest of the Archuleta children, the final one to go through Escalon High, preceded by sisters Rachel and Becky and brother Joe.

"This is something new for our family," said proud dad Edward of the royal selection.

Leah said her fellow candidates were "amazing" and they had a good week together, participating in the various events.

Grand Marshals for the 2011 Homecoming were Sket and Angie Franceschetti, married some 57 years, and raising three children in the area, Jill, Bob and Mark. Now they watch their grandchildren's activities at school and have enjoyed everything from past Homecomings to Park Fete to the 2010 state championship football game.

Head football coach Mark Loureiro said he was pleased and amazed at the turnout for both the afternoon parade downtown and the Friday night game.

"I can't ever remember that many people in town for the parade, or that many people in the parade," he said. "Then for the game, you turned around and the whole stands were filled, I guarantee you those (football) kids appreciate that support."

The football teams did their job, the JV squad shutting out Riverbank 52-0 and the varsity going a couple of touchdowns better in a 73-0 thrashing of the Bruins.

The junior class took some top honors during the week, the girls winning the Powder Puff football title and the junior class winning the float competition with a San Francisco-themed float. The freshman float was based on Yosemite, the sophomores had a Santa Cruz theme and the seniors, second place in the competition, had Hollywood. This year's theme for Homecoming - in light of state championships in both football and baseball - was 'We Own This State.'