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First Win Of 2004 In Books For Varsity Gridders
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Picking up where they left off, Escalon won Friday night's football game at Engel Field in convincing fashion, the varsity putting away West Campus of Sacramento, 38-12.

"I was kind of concerned because it had been a real hot week, there was very little emotion in practice and the kids were drained," head coach Mark Loureiro admitted of entering the contest. "But the kids came into the game with some bite."

West Campus received the ball to start the varsity game and went a quick three and punt, the young Cougar defense eager to make a statement early. Then it was time for the offense to go to work, making steady progress and converting on a fourth and one for the first down. Then junior quarterback Andrew Beam hooked up with Steve Gentry on a 34-yard pass play with 6:39 to go in the opening quarter for the first score of the season. Chris Diniz added the extra point for the early 7-0 lead.

West Campus got pinned inside the 10-yard line on a solid kickoff from Diniz and they went three and out again, turning the ball over to the Cougars.

"The kids swarmed them defensively," explained Loureiro. "Our defense held them to minus 21 yards in the first half and gave our offense good field position."

Gus Arzac found the end zone for Escalon with 3:50 to go in the first quarter on a run, Diniz added the point after for a 14-0 advantage.

Other first half scores came from Travis Hooks on a rushing play with 9:21 to go in the second quarter, Beam connected with Gentry on another pass play with 3:12 to go for a score and Arzac scored on a 50-yard interception return with 1:41 to go in the opening half. Diniz made the extra point on each attempt, giving Escalon a 35-0 lead at the half.

"We were able to force them into a lot of mistakes with our pressure," Loureiro said of keeping West Campus off the board in the first half.

Using the large lead to their advantage, Escalon got all players in to the game on opening night, putting in the second and third defensive and offensive units at times during the second half.

West Campus was able to break into the end zone on a pass play with less than a minute gone in the fourth quarter but the point after attempt was blocked, making it a 35-6 contest.

Diniz converted on a 45-yard field goal on the next possession for Escalon, increasing the lead to 38-6.

The visitors closed out the scoring on their next drive on a 46-yard touchdown pass with 5:55 to play. The 2-point conversion was no good, leaving the score at 38-12.

"They scored but it was too little, too late," said Loureiro.

Defensive standouts for Escalon included Jason Chandley, leading the team with nine tackles; Steve Gentry, six tackles and two sacks; Gus Arzac, five tackles and one interception. Travis Hooks and Anthony Suniga also picked off West Campus passes during the evening.

"Anthony Oste played well for us inside, he and Jake Brown," Loureiro added. "Offensively, Andrew Beam at quarterback had a good night, he was 4-for-6 for 71 yards and two touchdowns, both to Steve Gentry."

Rushing, Justin Chandley led the way with 16 carries for 112 yards, Arzac had seven carries for 34 yards and a touchdown, Marcus Savage had three carries for 33 yards. Myles Bishop added five carries for 26 yards and Hooks had five carries for 35 yards and a touchdown.

"Both our tackles on the offensive line were leaders for us, Mike Sawyer and Jake Brown, and we also got good play from our juniors Justin Kelly, Frank Kaech and Nate Keyser."

Loureiro said he was especially pleased with the team effort against a squad they had never seen before and didn't know much about going into the contest.

"Overall it's a nice home game to start with," said Loureiro. "It was an opportunity to get all kids in the ball game."

This week, the Cougars hit the road for a game at Capital Christian of Sacramento, taking on those Cougars - of the Golden Empire League - on Friday.