By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Queen Crowning Highlights 2022 Homecoming Festivities
Taking time to smile for the camera at halftime of the varsity football game following the crowning of the new Homecoming queen were Owen Nash, at left, last year’s Queen Emily Gutierrez, newly crowned Queen Jessica Toledo-Pantoja and her dad, Logan Anderson, and Ryker Peters. Nash, Anderson and Peters were the varsity team captains for Friday night, presenting Pantoja with her cape, flowers and signed team football. Marg Jackson/The Times

Crowned as the first runner-up in the Miss Escalon pageant in August, senior Jessica Toledo-Pantoja has followed that up with an even bigger crown – named as the Escalon High School Homecoming Queen on Friday night, Sept. 16.

She received her crown, cape, bouquet of flowers and signed 2022 football as part of the halftime festivities at the varsity game.

“It’s a feeling you just can’t explain,” said Pantoja, smiling broadly after hearing her name announced. “I enjoyed the whole week, dressing up, the rally was fun, everything was just really fun.”

Pantoja, a cheerleader, was one of five candidates in the running for the Queen’s crown. Other nominees were Bailey Dugo, Faye Hernandez, Emily Vickers and Makayla Wentzell. Football team captains Owen Nash, Logan Anderson and Ryker Peters were on hand to help present the cape, bouquet and signed football while last year’s Homecoming Queen Emily Gutierrez did the honors of crowning her successor.

Each candidate was driven around the track at halftime of the varsity contest, with some biographical information read about them by the Homecoming Commissioners Janesa Aldasoro and Katelyn Kjellberg. They then were joined by their escorts and assembled on the track awaiting the announcement of the new royalty. Pantoja, eyes wide with surprise, was applauded by her fellow candidates and shared hugs with her dad, who served as her escort for the evening. After the photo opportunity, she was mobbed by members of the cheerleading squad in a group hug. Later, she got back on her box and cheered, still wearing her royal purple cape.

The football game itself was a tough loss for the Cougars, falling to the visiting Hughson Huskies 29-14.

Earlier in the evening, the Class Floats were driven around the track, in between the JV and varsity contests. Float decorations were New York, freshmen; Florida, sophomores; Texas, juniors; California, seniors. Theme for this year’s Homecoming was ‘road trip’ and the juniors were awarded the first-place honors in the float competition.

The night also hit a somber note; as the announcement of the late Greg Largent as Grand Marshal was recognized while his sons and grandsons rode around the track surrounding Engel Field.

Homecoming Week included several different dress up days and activities at the high school, a rally on Thursday, with the downtown parade on Friday afternoon and the wrap up with the Trans-Valley League football game and halftime ceremonies on Friday night. The Powder Puff football, normally held during Homecoming Week, was scheduled for this week.

With a ‘road trip’ to Texas as their theme for Homecoming Week, the Class of 2024, the juniors, came out on top as the winners in the float competition. Marg Jackson/The Times
E Royals
Dressed in their formal wear for the Friday night halftime festivities were Queen candidates Bailey Dugo, Faye Hernandez, Queen Jessica Toledo-Pantoja, Emily Vickers and Makayla Wentzell. Marg Jackson/The Times
HC Cheer
Surrounded by her fellow cheerleaders, newly crowned 2022 Homecoming Queen Jessica Toledo-Pantoja, center, is all smiles and accepts congratulations from the squad. Marg Jackson/The Times