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Escalon Prepares To Host NorCal Bowl Game Friday
Section Champions
ESC banner
Escalon players erupt with emotion as the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 5 football banner is presented to head coach Andrew Beam on Saturday night, Nov. 26. The number five seed Cougars battled their way past the number two Sonora Wildcats, bringing home their third straight Section crown with a thrilling 35-34 victory. Marg Jackson/The Times

There’s no rest for the weary – but the Cougars wouldn’t have it any other way.

Fresh off an historic Section title win on Saturday night, Nov. 26 against Sonora, the Division 5 Section champions will host Pleasant Valley of Chico at Engel Field on Friday, Dec. 2. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.; winner of that NorCal Division 4-AA contest moves on to play for a state title.

Saturday night’s game against the Sonora Wildcats was like a heavyweight prize fight; it took all 48 minutes to decide the winner. Escalon battled back and got a pair of touchdowns in the final few minutes of the game to seal the victory.

“We just created a dynasty,” senior Ryker Peters, one of this year’s team captains, said of getting the historic three-peat, with Section titles in 2019, 2021 and 2022. There were no playoffs due to COVID in 2020.

“First one in Escalon history and we’re the team to do it,” Peters continued. “For my senior year, this is all I wanted, this is everything I absolutely worked for; this is all the days of sweating, blood, you know, this is a thing people can only dream of and I’m just so happy my team gets to experience it. This is just truly so amazing.”

For senior Logan Anderson, he said it was the team firing on all cylinders, especially late in the game that proved to be the difference, along with all the support the Cougars had throughout the contest.

“It’s the community behind us, if you look over, there were three times the amount of people that were here for Sonora on our side for us,” Anderson said. “And it was just amazing, winning or losing during the game, they were loud, they were ready to cheer us on and they wanted to bring home our third year in a row Section title.”

Not only that, the team gets to play at least one more game.

“It’s awesome; I love football in December,” said Anderson.

Tickets for the Friday, Dec. 2 game must be purchased online on the website.

Escalon head coach Andrew Beam said it was a special Section title this year. After playing a tough preseason and going 3-1, the Cougars appeared poised to make a strong run through the tough Trans-Valley League and battle for the league title. But faltering in their first two games – losing to Hughson and Hilmar – they fell out of contention for the title and had to find their identity midseason.

They did just that, the coach said, coming together with a new focus and a new drive that has seen them go on an eight-game winning streak since the loss to Hilmar in league play.

And even when the Section title game looked like it might slip away, the Cougars got a chance and didn’t waste it.

“We had to go 80 yards,” Beam said, after Sonora took a 34-28 lead late in the game. “But we practice the two-minute drill; it’s a situation we like to put ourselves in during practice and Donovan (quarterback Donovan Rozevink) on that last drive was 4-for-5 passing and he also had a rush for eight or nine yards. Even with two penalties on that drive, out kids did a great job of staying composed.”

It will take composure, focus and their best effort of the campaign to get another victory.

“Pleasant Valley was the Northern Section champion, they beat Enterprise and Foothill in the playoffs, two teams they had lost to in the regular season and they are 9-4,” Beam said of their next opponent. “They weren’t league champs like ourselves, they were the three seed.”

Escalon went into the playoffs as the number five seed and now, at 11-3, look to make it a 12-win season. These teams met in 2019, at Pleasant Valley in Chico, and the Cougars defeated the host Vikings in that game.

“The game is at 7:30 p.m.; gates will be open at 6:30 p.m.,” Beam said of the Dec. 2 contest. “The snack bar and Cougar Spirit Wear booth will be open. If you get this far in the season, everybody is a little tired, a little bruised … we will need our crowd; bring your cowbells, bring your noisemakers, every time we hear that, it gives us a little more energy.”

SJS Division 5 Championship: Sonora vs Escalon | The Blitz Season 10

The Blitz has coverage from the SJS Division 5 Championship game between two seed Sonora High and five seed Escalon High that took place on November 26, 2022 and saw the Cougars win their third consecutive blue banner. Sponsored By: Realtor Michael Rocha and Main Street Garage
By: Frankie Tovar

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