A Section title, a NorCal championship and a CIF State title … it was a banner season for the Escalon Cougars football program.
Then, the varsity squad earned recognition from Cal-Hi Sports as the Small Schools Team of the Year. Now, the team’s three captains have also received honors through the Cal-Hi Sports awards program.
Ryker Peters and Owen Nash were selected for the state’s Small Schools first team while Logan Anderson received second team recognition. Peter had also previously been selected as the Small Schools State Player of the Year.
Peters hurt opposing teams with his powerful rushing attack, amassing more than 2000 yards of offense. He also had close to 100 tackles on defense for the state Division 4-AA champion Cougars.
Nash, a wide receiver, had over 1,080 receiving yards this season with 15 touchdowns and 61 catches.
Anderson, a running back and linebacker, was selected for the second team as a multi-purpose player.
Escalon head coach Andrew Beam said the honors for Escalon are virtually unprecedented.
“Our team was named Cal-Hi Sports Small School Team of the Year, the fourth time ever,” Beam said, noting that 1993, 1996 and 2010 were the other years the honor was bestowed on the Cougars.
“We started as the preseason number one, then dropped out of the top ten after our three losses,” Beam added. “And then we climbed back towards the top in postseason.”
It was that early preseason success that helped pave the way for the team honors, Beam said, as they took on such powerful foes as Windsor, Buchanan and Kimball, which all made the semifinals of their division playoffs.
“Ryker was named the Small School Player of the Year, first time ever for an Escalon player and only the second ever for the Trans-Valley League,” Beam said, with Nate Costa earning the honor in 2005. “I am very proud of our three captains … it speaks volumes to their leadership and work ethic. To have three kids on the All-State Teams is awesome. The accolades these boys have received is a product of our TEAM and every player on that roster who helped contribute this season.”