Bright blue skies, a cool fall breeze and a football victory.
It was a successful Homecoming for Escalon High School.
The Cougars rattled off three football victories – freshman, JV and varsity – against longtime rival Hughson to cap a solid week of activities, and senior Taylor Busch was crowned the 2013 Homecoming Queen at halftime of the Friday night varsity contest.
In class competitions, the juniors and freshmen tied for top honors in the floats, with the sophomores third and seniors fourth. Dr. John Bystrom rode in a place of honor in the parade as Grand Marshal and the seniors beat the juniors for the Powder Puff crown.
For new Queen Taylor Busch, who accepted her crown from outgoing queen Mystic Madrid, it was a unique moment. Last year, she was one of the two Homecoming Commissioners that helped set up all the festivities. This year, she was the one getting the crown.
“I’m excited, shocked, completely overwhelmed,” admitted a happy Busch, waving to the crowd and getting ready to take her ‘victory lap’ around the track at Engel Field.
“It feels good,” she added. “I think all the candidates were very good, anyone would have been a great choice, I don’t really know how I won, but I’m thankful, that’s for sure.”
Thankful, also, were the Cougar fans who got to see an old-fashioned thumping of rival Hughson on the football field by the varsity squad. Team captain Lance Davis said it was a satisfying victory.
“It was huge for us, it boosts our confidence,” he said, adding that it’s a treat to play in a stadium where the community turns out in force to support the team.
“It’s really important, gave us all our confidence back,” added senior Josh Redding, noting that the team will take that confidence on the road this week and look for another TVL win, this time at Orestimba.
Junior Christian May said it showed the resolve of the team, coming off two consecutive losses, to find a way to get back into contention for the playoffs.
“We’ve never really been in a down situation, we’ve never lost Homecoming, we practiced hard, prepared all week,” May said. “This was very satisfying.”
Quarterback and team captain Ben Hood said he feels the team ‘shell shocked’ Hughson and probably earned a little bit more respect in the process. Fellow captain Collin Strasser agreed and said it goes even a little further.
“This really was a must win if we want to get to the playoffs,” Strasser said. “It was a great feeling, everything started to click.”