Woodland will be in town on Friday night, Nov. 12 as Escalon hosts a second round game in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 5 football playoffs.
As the No. 1 seed in D5, the Cougars had a bye this past week, when No. 8 Woodland was taking on No. 9 Colfax. Woodland won the game by a 22-19 final and Escalon head coach Andrew Beam, some assistant coaches and a number of players, made the trip to watch the game.
“They are good sized, they have bigger bodies than what we see in the Trans-Valley League,” Beam said. “They spread you out, they run a more spread offense than we are used to seeing so it will be a challenge for us.”
Escalon earned the top seed by virtue of winning the Trans-Valley League title this year, going 6-0 in the regular season.
But everyone starts over in the postseason and you have to keep winning to keep playing.
“We have four films on Woodland, we will watch film at a lunch a couple of days this week, get ourselves familiar with someone we’ve never played before,” Beam noted. “In Division 5, everybody that was projected to win in the first round did and the final eight will all be very competitive match ups.”
Escalon will face Woodland while No. 5 Ripon travels to No. 4 Pioneer on one side of the bracket. On the other side, Hilmar will travel to face off against Sonora and No. 7 Casa Roble will be at No. 2 Union Mine. In their first round games, Ripon defeated No. 12 Ceres by a 39-13 final and No. 6 Hilmar blasted their way past No. 11 Los Banos, 61-27.
That means there are three TVL teams in the top eight in the division, a testament to the strength of the league, Beam said.
Tickets for the Friday night playoff game at Engel Field are only available online; they will not be sold at the gate.
The link to GoFan, the digital ticket vendor, is https://gofan.co/app/school/CIFSJS.
Escalon Athletic Director Nate Bartelink said those purchasing tickets should just type in Escalon into the search and the game will come up.
“Once the tickets are purchased, the ticket holders do not press ‘redeem’,” Bartelink stressed. “They need to remain unredeemed until they reach the gate to the football stadium, where the ticket checkers will then ‘redeem’ the digital tickets and grant admission.”
Ticket prices are $12 for adults; $8 for seniors (age 65 and above) and military; $5 for students K-12; and children five and under are admitted free.
The Cougars were ready for a bye week, added the coach, to rest some players with nagging injuries and take some time to get re-energized.
“You need all hands on deck,” he said.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 12.