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Football's Second Season Starts Friday
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Eighth seeded Escalon will play host to No. 9 seed Calaveras in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs on Friday night at Engel Field.

Game time is 7 p.m. and Escalon head coach Mark Loureiro said his Cougars will be ready for the 'second season' where everyone starts fresh, all teams are 0-0, and it's win or go home.

"The last time we saw Calaveras was in the Section final in 2010," Loureiro said.

Escalon came from behind to win that game in the final seconds and went on to become the State Champion that year as well.

"Calaveras took second in the Mother Lode League, they were 8-2 overall," Loureiro added.

The Cougars also went 8-2, second in the Trans-Valley League, with their only losses a preseason one to Los Banos and a league loss to TVL champs Ripon.

The Calaveras Redskins, wearing cardinal red and Vegas gold, are coached by Jason Weatherby and will bring plenty of weapons to the table.

"They are a well-coached team, and both these programs know each other very well," Loureiro explained. "They have excellent team speed on both sides of the ball and speed causes all kinds of problems."

Gates will open at 5:30 p.m. Friday for the 7 p.m. kickoff and ticket prices for the Section playoffs are $10 for adults, $7 for students and seniors.

The Redskins mix 50-50 with the pass and rush, so they will be a tough team to contain. They closed out their regular season with a 52-20 win against Bret Harte while Escalon was beating Riverbank, 55-20 in their finale. The only losses for Calaveras this season were to Argonaut (Mother Lode League champion) and Sonora, which plays in the tough Valley Oak League.

Team leaders for Calaveras are quarterback Zach Johnson, who has passed for 1,500 yards and 20 touchdowns; leading rusher and top receiver Mike Seawell, along with rushers Kellen Hodgson and Joe Elliott, and receiver Christian Moore. Anchoring the line are Duncan Franklin and Brian Gulston.

Loureiro said his team came away from the final league game healthy, and will be focused in practice this week as they look to advance past the first round. The second round game would be Friday, Nov. 16 against the winner of No. 1 Placer vs. No. 16 Hilmar.

"This Division IV playoff bracket is the toughest I've ever seen," admitted Loureiro. "There are three undefeated teams, three teams at 9-1 and six teams at 8-2. It's a stacked bracket.

"Whoever wins this thing is going to earn it. There are no easy teams here. It's going to be a war to the end."