The battle lines have been drawn.
Or rather, spray painted on, and the 2013 Escalon High School football season is about to get under way.
Coming off a section championship game appearance and earning Sac-Joaquin Section runner-up status last season to Western Athletic Conference powerhouse and eventual State D4 champion Central Catholic, this year’s varsity football Cougars are eager to get on the field and start carving their own identity.
Before they do that, though, the team members will be out in the community in full force Thursday night, Aug. 29 for the sales of the ‘Cougar Gold’ cards. The $10 cost goes to the football program and the cards contain a variety of special offers and discounts from local merchants.
“There are tons of great deals, they are worth it,” head football coach Mark Loureiro said of the gold cards. “They pay for themselves quickly.”
The cards are worth much more than the $10 cost in the discounts provided, added the coach, and have long been a staple to start the season, with money raised utilized for needed equipment and to help with costs associated with the football program.
“For anyone that doesn’t get one Thursday night, if you’re not home or a player doesn’t come to your door, they can contact me at the school to get one,” Loureiro said.
Players are scheduled to sell the cards throughout the community between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. Thursday.
Work on the school’s Engel Field at Memorial Stadium saw the yard lines painted on, the end zone lines drawn and the yard markers also put down during the past week, with some touch up work anticipated before the official kick off of the season this coming Friday. Escalon did host a scrimmage on Saturday, Aug. 24, the contest moved here from Jackson due to poor air quality there associated with the Rim Fire. (See story in Sports, page A14.)
For Loureiro, the start of the new season means the opportunity to see returning players take on leadership roles for the team and new arrivals to the varsity getting the chance to make an impact at a higher level.
It’s always exciting, he noted, to start another campaign and the team will utilize a mix of some strong returning players and some talented offensive and defensive weapons moving up from the junior varsity to do battle in preseason and then on to the tough Trans-Valley League.
Kickoff for the varsity game on Friday against the visiting Los Banos Tigers will be about 7:30 p.m., with the JV team taking the field first at 5:30 p.m.
The Cougars will go on the road for a Sept. 6 game at Pacheco in Los Banos, are home to host Linden on Sept. 13 and then travel to Patterson for the preseason finale on Sept. 20.
Trans-Valley League play begins with a road game this season, traveling to Ripon to face off with the Indians on Sept. 27.
Head coach for the junior varsity team is Randy Northcutt, returning for another season, with Roger Beeman back as head coach for the youngest Cougars, leading the freshmen.