Escalon is ranked No. 6 for small schools in the nation by MaxPreps as they get ready to head into the 2011 high school football campaign. The Cougars, who went 14-1 last season, lost just one preseason game and then rolled through the Trans-Valley League to claim that championship, as well as the Section crown, and then closed out the year with a thrilling state title game victory against Madison of San Diego in December. Head coach Mark Loureiro will have 15 starters back from last year's squad, key returners including quarterback Gino Franceschetti, running back Josh Miguel (27 touchdowns) and defensive stalwarts Tony Vincent and Shane Silveira, among the team's leading tacklers. Ahead of the Cougars in the nationwide ranking are No. 1 Buford, Georgia; No. 2 Curtis of River Ridge, Louisiana; University in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; Heritage Hall, Oklahoma City; and Evangel Christian Academy in Shreveport, Louisiana. The only other California team to break into the top 25 for small school honors was Sierra Canyon (8) of Chatsworth, California.