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Escalon Cougars To Host State Championship Game
Christmas On Main Rescheduled
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Surrounded by his players and assistant coaches, Escalon varsity football head coach Andrew Beam, center, hoists the NorCal Regionals championship plaque after the Cougars defeated host Pleasant Valley in Chico by a 41-17 final on Saturday, Dec. 7. The win puts the Cougars into the State title game, which they will host on Dec. 14 at 6 p.m. Marg Jackson/The Times

Gates will open at 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14 as the Escalon Cougars play host to La Jolla in the California State Championship  football game for Division 4A.

Tickets for the game - $12 for adults, $8 for senior citizens and students - will be available at the gate and can also be pre-purchased online. Go to

A dominating second half performance on the road in Chico put the Escalon football Cougars into the state title game. The championship contest on Saturday, Dec. 14 features a 6 p.m. kickoff.

Escalon will be seeking its second state title in the last 10 years, having won the crown in 2010. That year, they had to travel to Carson in southern California. This year, the Cougars get to stay home, on the strength of their schedule and postseason performances.

They defeated Pleasant Valley in Chico on Dec. 7 by a 41-17 final to earn their trip to the State title game.

La Jolla, meanwhile, defeated Marina of Huntington Beach by a 27-14 decision in the South regionals while Escalon was taking care of Pleasant Valley in the North.

Head coach Andrew Beam said his team has been approaching the post season with one mantra in mind: “One more game.”

He also said being able to host the State game will provide another opportunity for fans and the community to get behind the team, something they did in huge numbers in the road game at Chico.

“We need to take full advantage of it,” Beam said.

Cheer coaches have asked for residents to help decorate the community so it is a virtual sea of purple and gold for the Saturday night game.

“I don’t know if we’ve ever seen Engel Field the way it’ll be on Saturday night,” Beam said, adding that it’s also “a testament to our community” that the game is being played in the Cougars’ backyard.

The State title game has prompted the postponement of Escalon’s Christmas on Main – originally set for Saturday – until Sunday, Dec. 15.

“You better believe it, we’re going to move it,” said Mayor Robert Swift, who encouraged everyone in the community to turn out and support the Cougars in their pursuit of the state football crown.

“Everything remains the same except we are moving it, the smart money is on moving it to Dec. 15,” Swift said.

Organizers are also working on having the football team and cheerleaders take part in the holiday light parade, now set for 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 15.

“We would love to have them so we can give them another big ‘thank you’ for what they have done this season,” Swift said.

Grand Marshals for the parade this year are Robert and Debbie Leal, who have been instrumental in a number of local efforts, including helping head up the Sober Grad Night for EHS seniors along with snack bar duty at Engel Field for several years.

Christmas on Main will open up at 3 p.m. Sunday with vendor booths and also feature performances on the Main Street Stage, crafts, games, food, fire pits for making s’mores and the parade. Santa arrives at 6 p.m. to visit with kids and pose for photos. Festivities are scheduled to run from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

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With his kids helping hold the plaque, head coach Andrew Beam and the varsity football Cougar players, coaches and a few supporters smile for the cameras after punching their ticket to the State Division 4A championship game with a road win at Chico against Pleasant Valley. Marg Jackson/The Times