In a hard fought battle, one that saw the Escalon defense on the field for much of the night, the JV Cougars took a 15-7 win on Friday, Aug. 24 against visiting Calaveras.
First year head coach Brant Rose said the night belonged to the defense, as Calaveras came out ready to play.
“Our defense pretty much won us the game … our offense was pretty sloppy,” Rose noted. “Calaveras ran 16 more plays than we did; our defense was on the field all night.”
After a scoreless first quarter, Escalon did get on the scoreboard in the second, with a seven-yard touchdown reception by Shane Campbell off the pass from quarterback Ty Harris. With a bad snap on the extra point attempt, kicker Demetrius Teixeira scrambled and found Campbell in the end zone, completing the 2-point conversion for an 8-0 Escalon lead.
That was the score at halftime and, in the third quarter, the host JV team found a way to get another score on the board, this one on a big pass play from Harris to Logan Webster. Teixeira added the point after as the home team went up 15-0.
Calaveras was quick to answer back, cutting the deficit to 15-7 as they took a pick six back 30 yards for the score and added the point after.
Heading into the final frame with the lead, Rose said he was still uneasy, as the offense had not gotten into a good rhythm.
The back and forth quarter saw Calaveras getting the final opportunity to mount a sustained drive in hopes of going in for a touchdown.
“They were driving the field,” Rose said. “They were at the 10-yard line with a minute 30 to play and on fourth down, our defense held them. Then we were able to take a couple of knees and run out the clock.”
Though he said the defense was a “total team effort” it was Teixeira who led the squad, recording six solo tackles.
“Individually, he gave them fits all night,” Rose said. We forced four turnovers on downs, our defense really answered the call.”
Escalon had more total yards on offense than Calaveras and parlayed that and the strong defensive effort into the win to start the season 2-0. They head to Sonora on Friday night, Aug. 31 for a 5 p.m. kickoff against the Wildcats.
A tough start for the youngest Cougars, as they traveled to Chavez in Stockton for a Thursday night game, Aug. 23 and came home after being shut out, 26-0.
It was the first game of the season for the team, which also has not had too much practice time, said first year head coach Joey Costa.
“We have 17 kids and that includes a bunch of beginners, for four or five of the kids, they played in their first football game ever on Thursday night,” Costa explained. “We also weren’t sure we would have a freshman program until late so they didn’t have any scrimmage, just a few practices, it was a tough first run for sure.”
Chavez, meanwhile, had multiple players on the sidelines to sub in and stay fresh. And despite the shutout loss, Costa said the team realizes it was a learning experience and just want to grow from here.
“We’ll keep plugging away,” he said. “We want to get the kids the experience, that’s the number one goal, just get more kids out, get those numbers up.”
The freshmen will be at home Thursday night, Aug. 30, hosting Sonora with a 6 p.m. kickoff.
“We’re hoping for a better outcome,” Costa said.