Engel Field will be the host site for a Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI football playoff game on Friday night. Nov. 9 as the Escalon Cougars welcome Calaveras to town for second round action.
Escalon had a bye this past Friday night as the result of being a top four seed; Calaveras hosted and defeated Highlands, 44-7, in their first round match up.
“Calaveras-Escalon, there’s a lot of tradition there, playing each other in the playoffs,” said first year varsity head coach Andrew Beam. “They are a physical, big team. We beat them 21-7 (in preseason) but it was a close game. It’s a matchup of similar bruising styles.”
Calaveras went 7-4 during the season and all four losses came to teams still in the playoffs; Escalon, Ripon, Modesto Christian and Sonora.
“With Calaveras, you know they’re going to run the ball, they dare you to stop the run,” Beam said. “I think we are a better team than when we played them 10 weeks ago but they are a better team now as well.”
The Calaveras team is led by standouts Logan Weatherby and John Arbuckle. Both are seniors; Weatherby is a fullback and middle linebacker, 6-0, 205, who also happens to be the son of the team’s head coach. Arbuckle, who went to middle school in Escalon but then moved, stands 6-2, 190 and is a running back and middle linebacker.
“He’s probably going to be the Mother Lode League MVP, he’s a real terror,” Beam said of Arbuckle.
Jason Weatherby is head coach for Calaveras and game time on Friday night is 7 p.m. Gates will open at 6 p.m. and ticket prices for playoff games are set by the Sac-Joaquin Section; $10 for adults, $7 for student and seniors, with kids 6 and under free. Discounted tickets can be pre-purchased online prior to the Friday night game; check the EHS Sports Boosters Facebook page for information.
Beam added that several players have been brought up from the JV level and have brought energy and intensity to practices; most will likely see some playing time on special teams.
The eight teams remaining in the D-VI bracket are Escalon, Hilmar, Modesto Christian, Ripon, Waterford, Amador, Argonaut and Calaveras. A win at home on Friday night would pit Escalon against the winner of the Hilmar-Amador game but Beam isn’t looking that far ahead.
“You throw out the old records, you throw out that first game,” he said of facing off against Calaveras again.
Escalon has had an extra week to get ready and the coach said they have used it well, with some players able to heal and everyone getting on the same page, focused for Friday night.
“This could be the last time to watch this group of seniors play on Engel Field,” Beam said, urging residents to turn out for the contest. “Our crowd has been amazing this season and we hope they’ll support us one more time.”