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Comeback Win For JV Football Over Lions
Helped out by a bad decision on the part of their opponent, Escalon's JV football team stole a victory from Linden, scoring the go ahead touchdown in the final seconds of Friday night's contest.

Escalon came from behind to score a 21-19 win. Linden bypassed a chance to win the game, as basically they just had to take the knee on their final possession but opted to continue running plays. The plan backfired, as Gino Franceschetti came up with an interception in the end zone with 1:25 to play, getting the Cougars the ball on the 20-yard line. Trailing 19-12, Escalon went on a final drive that culminated with a Brandon Shaw 3-yard pass to Colton Smith for the score. Franceschetti added the point after and the JV boys got the Homecoming festivities kicked off right, taking the win away from the Lions.

"We marched a little bit and fumbled, they marched a little bit and fumbled," head coach Randy Northcutt said of the uneven offense displayed in the game. "They fumbled three times, we fumbled twice."

Nick Caton, Josh Miguel and Adrian Cortes recovered the Linden fumbles, giving Escalon plenty of opportunity on offense but the JV Cougars could get precious little going without having a penalty stall a drive.

"We didn't play well on the offensive line, we didn't play well on the defensive line," Northcutt said of the performance.

While they came out with the win, he said his team knows they were lucky and can't settle for that type of effort.

"We had eight penalties and six of them were illegal procedure penalties," Northcutt explained. "We had a touchdown called back on a penalty, we just shot ourselves in the foot too many times."

Linden scored twice in the second quarter and once in the third, Escalon countered with single scores in the second, third and fourth quarters. Linden got on the board first with a 24-yard rushing touchdown but the 2-point conversion attempt failed, giving the Lions a 6-0 lead. A Linden interception returned 84 yards for a touchdown gave them a bigger lead and again the 2-point failed, but it was 12-0 Linden before Escalon got anything going.

The home team trimmed the deficit to 12-7 with a 65-yard touchdown pass from Brandon Shaw to Josh Miguel late in the second quarter, with Gino Franceschetti adding the kick.

In the second half, Linden made it 19-7 on a 14-yard rush with the point after attempt good in the third quarter. Escalon came back with a 7-yard rush from James Hill and Franceschetti added the kick for a 19-14 ball game.

In the fourth quarter, after the Franceschetti interception, Shaw hooked up on a long pass play with Smith, a short completion to Hill and then the 3-yard strike to Smith in the end zone for the score. Capping the comeback, Franceschetti split the uprights to give Escalon a 21-19 lead and they were able to hold on for the win. Franceschetti sealed it with another interception of a Linden pass, this one with nine seconds to go in the game.

"Gino had a great game on defense," said Northcutt.

Linden had 12 first downs, two by pass, nine by rush and one by penalty and had a total of 243 yards. They rushed 28 times for 215 yards and completed 3-of-10 passes for 28 yards with two interceptions, both by Franceschetti.

Escalon had 14 first downs, four by pass, nine by rush and one by penalty and had a total of 284 yards on the night. They rushed the ball 36 times for 130 yards and Shaw completed 8-of-14 passes for 154 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception.

Miguel had four carries for 14 yards and a touchdown, two catches for 80 yards and a touchdown.

Shaw rushed the ball five times for 10 yards, Hill had five carries for 13 and had four catches for 36 yards. Mikey Simoes carried the ball five times for 14 yards, Kyle Rose had 17 carries for 79 yards and Smith had two catches for 38 yards and one touchdown.

"In the second half we came out, ran Kyle Rose off the tackle for six plays in a row," Northcutt said of getting the offense in position to score.

Homecoming Week festivities are usually a distraction for the sports teams, Northcutt said, and he's eager to get his players back and focused prior to their road trip to Bret Harte on Friday night.

"We've got to get back in the routine, work on stuff we're supposed to know," he explained. "We're struggling a little bit but they have been working hard. We're getting ready for league play and Hughson, Ripon and Modesto Christian are all looking good ... it's going to be an interesting (league) season, we'll see what happens."

The JV Cougars kick off in Angels Camp at 5:30 p.m. Friday for the final non-league game of the season.