Hoping to ‘blitz’ the community, players for the Escalon Cougars football team will be out in force on Thursday night, then plan to marshal their collective force on Friday night in hopes of securing a victory in their season opener.
The 2014 edition of the Cougars will be selling the popular ‘Cougar Cards’ in a three-hour time frame, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., on Thursday, Aug. 21.
“Expect the town to get blitzed,” varsity football head coach and Escalon High School Athletic Director Mark Loureiro said. “There are a ton of different sponsors behind this, I can’t imagine living in this town and not having one of these cards, it practically pays for itself after the first use.”
The Cougar Card is a major fundraiser for the football team, and cardholders get good deals at several businesses and restaurants, many in Escalon, as well as surrounding locations.
“I will have some extra, if people aren’t home or don’t get one, I will have some and they can call me at the school,” Loureiro said.
Meanwhile, the football team is also anxious for their first time under the Friday night lights, and they will be hosting longtime foe Patterson in the Aug. 29 contest.
“It should be a good match up, we are hoping for a good crowd,” Loureiro noted. “This is a good rivalry that has been going on for a long time and it’s a good measuring stick for both schools.”
Escalon got its JV and varsity football teams on the field on Saturday, Aug. 23 at Amador High School in Jackson for a scrimmage and Loureiro said coaches overall were pleased with the team’s first look at an opponent outside of the practice field.
“We were pleasantly surprised, real happy with the offensive line, they are young but they did a real nice job, getting to their blocks, picking up the calls,” Loureiro explained. “Caleb Mullen threw the ball well, Brandon Grogan had about five catches. Wesley Dick and Hunter Calton, in the backfield, did a good job.”
Loureiro said Christian May wasn’t used too much in the scrimmage, as they looked to keep him fresh for plenty of carries on Friday night.
On the defensive side of the ball, Loureiro said the team had some trouble getting set early on, since they hadn’t faced off with another squad across the line of scrimmage yet this season.
“We lost contain at times, did some things wrong early in the scrimmage,” Loureiro admitted. “But they recognized their mistakes and improved on that, got better as we went along.”
Escalon outscored Amador seven touchdowns to two in the scrimmage, so from that perspective, it was a successful day.
“Overall, it was a good first scrimmage and it gave us some confidence going into this week,” Loureiro said of taking on the Tigers. “On the same token, this will be one of our toughest tests, they return a lot of key kids and we are new in a lot of spots. This is a game we usually have in week three or four, this time we have them right off the bat.”
Loureiro said the Tigers will bring plenty of athleticism to the field and it will be up to the Cougars to combat that by controlling the tempo of the game.
“If we get in a track meet shootout with them, we will come up short,” the coach said.
Instead, he is hoping for a grind-it-out game, smashmouth style, courtesy of the Cougars. He also said the last several meetings between the two teams have been nail-biting contests.
“I think the games have been decided by one touchdown either way pretty much the last few years,” Loureiro noted. “Last year, we lost in double overtime down there.
“The kids are eager to play.”
The JV team kicks off the Friday night festivities at 5:30 p.m., with the varsity game to follow at about 7:30 p.m.