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Homecoming Crown Goes To Kisst
Surrounded by her friends and in front of a huge hometown crowd, Madison Kisst was named Escalon's 2008 Homecoming Queen at halftime of Friday night's varsity football game.

The crowning capped off a busy week of events to celebrate Homecoming, with the football team captains there at midfield to present Kisst with her crown, sash and cape, and game ball.

Placing the crown on her head was last year's Homecoming Queen, Staci Gentry. After hugs and good wishes from her fellow candidates - Rosebud Brumley, Dorian Freitas, Lupi Herrera and Virginia Pinasco - it was off for a 'victory lap' tour around the track at Engel Field, waving to the crowd.

"I feel amazing," an emotional Kisst said following the victory lap. "It means a whole lot ... it's an honor."

Kisst said all the candidates are friends and the girls were excited over their nomination, thrilled to be part of Homecoming in such a special way.

"They're all such good friends of mine, it didn't even matter who won," she said, adding that any one of the candidates would have been a good selection. "It's amazing ... a great way to have a senior year."

The football team did its part as well, making sure the crowd went home happy. The JV boys staged a thrilling, last minute comeback win and the varsity boys scored early and often on the way to thoroughly thrashing Linden 44-7.

Earlier in the day, the annual Homecoming Parade made its way along the traditional route downtown, featuring several school and community groups, marching bands, the class floats, sports teams and more, including Times editor Marg Jackson honored as the Grand Marshal (see related story). Wednesday night saw some hard hitting action in the Powder Puff football game, won by the senior girls, and the float competition was won by the senior class with their 'disco' theme. Second place went to the juniors, with the sophomores third and the freshman class taking fourth place in the contest.

For the football team, putting the exclamation point on the celebration was key, according to quarterback Spencer Franceschetti.

"It was very important, no one ever wants to be the team that loses Homecoming," Franceschetti said.

Most of the game was on the ground, though Franceschetti did hook up with senior Danny Thompson on a long touchdown pass, bringing the crowd to its feet.

"You've only got a few games every year," Franceschetti added of playing hard from start to finish. "You've got to make the most of it."

Senior Jorge Parocua did just that, making the most of his opportunity to play in the second half, coming off the bench to record four tackles.

"It's a great feeling, I'm glad I finally got out there to play," he said, pleased that he had family and friends rooting him on.

Senior Josh Messersmith echoed the sentiments, and said he worked hard to stay focused on the task at hand.

"You can't get caught up in all the talk," he said of not buying in to the chatter by the other team on the field.

Messersmith - and the rest of the Cougars - let their actions do their talking, with a relentless attack that wore out the visiting Lions and gave the huge Homecoming crowd plenty to cheer about.

"It's probably the best feeling of the year," Messersmith agreed. "Senior year, winning Homecoming, it's the best time of my life right now."