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“One More” Game: Cougars Play For State Championship
NorCal 12-7-22
Posing with some impressive hardware for the second week in a row, the varsity Escalon football players, coaches and assistants celebrated a NorCal Bowl Game victory on Friday night, Dec. 2 at Engel Field, defeating Pleasant Valley of Chico, 42-20. The win gives Escalon the chance to play for the Division 4-AA state championship, also at Engel Field, on Saturday evening, Dec. 10. Marg Jackson/The Times

The mantra has changed slightly – moving from “All Gas No Brakes” to “One More”.

And if they get one more win, the Escalon varsity football team will be state champions.

Coming off a 42-20 victory over visiting Pleasant Valley in the NorCal 4-AA Bowl Game on Dec. 2, the Cougars will return to Engel Field for the title contest.

The game is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 10 with a 6 p.m. kickoff.

Tickets must be purchased online through the website.

Escalon will host the Northwood Timberwolves of Irvine as they battle for the state championship.

“They’ve been on a roll, they have a dynamic quarterback, a physical running back,” Escalon head coach Andrew Beam said of the Timberwolves, who come into the contest with a 14-1 record.

They won the South 4-AA Division title with a 10-7 decision over Kennedy on Dec. 2.

Escalon comes in with a 12-3 mark, and have won nine straight after dropping back-to-back games to start Trans-Valley League play, losing to Hughson and Hilmar, then righting the ship and getting back on course.

Gates at Engel Field will open at 5 p.m. Saturday and kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.; Beam said he anticipates a lively crowd, hopefully bringing plenty of support for the hometown Cougars.

“I predict that this is going to be a tough game,” he said. “And a fun game, which is should be for a state title game.”

Escalon is playing in its third state championship game in just over a decade, winning in a rain-soaked game in southern California in 2010 and then hosting a game at Engel Field in 2019, winning that contest. Now, they get a chance to earn another title.

“Bring the cowbells, wear your purple and gold, enjoy the moment as a community,” Beam suggested. “We are playing on the biggest stage.”

The coach also said this is the first time the Cougars have ever played a 16-game season, as they did not have a first-round bye in the playoffs this year after compiling a 4-2 mark in league play. But they have steadily matured as a team and the coach said they are once again focused and eager to take the field “one more” time.

“There’s just something about being at home,” Beam said. “These moments are hard to come by … so come out and enjoy it.”