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Friday Night Cougar Fun: Homecoming Celebration
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Homecoming Queen 2018, Hailie Webster, at left, is all smiles as she receives her crown from the 2017 Queen, Grace Fitzgerald, in ceremonies at halftime of the varsity game on Friday night, Oct. 12.
Members of the Class of 2019 ride on their Monopoly-themed float around the track in between the JV and varsity football games at Engel Field on Friday. They took first place in the float competition.

There wasn’t much that went wrong on Friday night, as Escalon High School wrapped up a successful Homecoming Week with the crowning of new royalty, announcement of the float competition winner … and two huge victories on the football field.

The JV and varsity football teams each did their part – defeating visiting Ripon on the gridiron – while the community turned out to support them and to enjoy the 2018 Homecoming festivities.

The parade of class floats made its way around the high school track in between the JV and varsity games, with the Senior class named the winners. The overall Homecoming theme was Escalon’s Got Game and each class had a board game as their float theme, with the seniors using Monopoly.

Second place went to the sophomores with Battleship and the third place float was that of the juniors, with Candyland. The freshmen had the game Clue as their theme.

At halftime of the varsity game, the Homecoming Grand Marshal, Nate Bartelink, was driven around the track. He has been coaching for 17 years and teaching for 14, spending the bulk of that time at El Portal Middle School. He now teaches at Vista High and this year took over as the new Athletic Director for Escalon High School. After Bartelink’s introduction, the Homecoming Queen candidates had their turn, with each escorted to midfield by their dads and, in some cases, additional family members.

Serving as emcees for the halftime event were juniors Madison Bavaro and Ashley Levin, providing some background on each of the Queen candidates as they were driven around the track.

Candidates this year were Sylvia Guevara, Sarah McPherrin, Madison Matsunami, Arely Ochoa and Hailie Webster.

Winning the crown was Hailie Webster, the daughter of Chad and Dawn Webster. She is currently a member of the Peer Interaction Team, serves as Vice President of the Associated Student Body and is the student representative to the school board. She also plays softball and will be attending the University of North Carolina Charlotte on a softball scholarship after graduating from EHS.

“I feel so special to have gotten this,” said an excited Webster after receiving her crown, flowers, sash, game ball and more. Football team captains Lucciano Dutra, Frank Leal, Nash Satnat and Cole Gilbert presented her with the bulk of the gifts and last year’s Homecoming Queen, Grace Fitzgerald, was there to place the crown on Webster’s head before she had a ‘victory lap’ around the track, riding in style in a classic car.

“The week was so much fun, the night rally was awesome and all five of us candidates felt so special,” Webster said of the experience. “I would have been happy if any of them had won.”

Meanwhile, on the football field, the varsity Escalon Cougars celebrated Homecoming in the best possible way, defeating their Trans-Valley League rival, Ripon.

“This one really moves us forward,” said junior Kaidence Trejo of the Cougars getting a 38-7 win, handing Ripon its first loss of the season. “This was the challenge we needed.”

Senior Jordan Gwartney said the game was huge for the team.

“It’s unbelievable, there’s nothing better than this feeling,” he said of getting the victory in front of a huge crowd.

Junior Jacob Walden said the team was able to put it all together, avoiding the small mistakes that had plagued them in two close losses earlier in league play.

Fellow junior Colton Panero said it was a sweet win and a game the Cougars took seriously.

“We just know how to prepare,” he said. “We always go our hardest.”

For senior quarterback Lucciano Dutra, the win couldn’t have come at a better time.

“We had people doubting us,” he admitted of losing their first two league games, “but we wanted to prove them wrong. This game meant everything to us.”

Juniors Madison Bavaro, left, and Ashley Levin handled the emcee duties for the halftime Homecoming festivities on Friday night, providing some information on each of the five Queen candidates and the Homecoming Grand Marshal, Nate Bartelink.