Two camps over three days – including the first on the hottest day of the year so far – kept several Escalon football players busy this past week.
Head varsity coach Andrew Beam said the 7-on-7 tournaments were at San Jose State University on Friday, June 10 and then at Cal Berkeley on Sunday, June 12.
“It was all the skill positions,” Beam said of the players attending, with the Cougars facing off with some stiff competition.
“We saw some really good talent at both tournaments, there were 24 teams at the San Jose tournament, 14 at Berkeley,” Beam explained. “These were our first two events to start the year; these were the two college tournaments we go to.”
Escalon went 2-0 to start pool play at each tournament, said the coach, holding their own against some higher division opponents.
At San Jose, the Cougars defeated De La Salle by a 22-14 final and then defeated Bellarmine 16-15.
“We won on a last second Hail Mary catch by Owen Nash,” Beam said of topping Bellarmine.
“We were gassed after that, it was so hot on Friday,” Beam said.
After going 2-0 in the pool play, the Cougars 7-on-7 team fell to Tamalpais to go 2-1 for the day.
“It was fun to play them and the boys did really well,” Beam said of battling the teams in San Jose. “Our kids also got some individualized coaching from coaches from Cal, Washington, San Jose State.”
Sunday, with the weather a bit cooler, the team headed to Cal, where they beat Sonoma and Downey High of Modesto in the opening pool play.
“Then we kind of got some tougher match-ups, we played two travel 7-on-7 teams in our last two games Sunday,” Beam said. “Overall, it was a good experience to see that level of competition.”
Cougar coaches were also pleased to see some players stepping up and looking like they are ready for a big senior campaign on the gridiron, while some of last year’s sophomores appear poised to make the jump and have an impact at the varsity level.
“Competition breeds success,” the coach said of players making each other better as they battle for playing time.
Currently, football players are in the weight room lifting four days a week and have 7-on-7 practices a couple of times a week as well.
They have two more 7-on-7 competitions, one at Downey High School and one at Stagg.
“Those will wrap up in the last week of June and our dead period starts the first week of July, it will go for three weeks this year,” Beam said.