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Football, Basketball Boys Complete Summer Campaign
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Among those suiting up for summer basketball for the varsity Cougars were, from left, Derek Fragoso, Luke Maxwell, Sawyer Mello, Julian Borrego, Zack Valencia, Cam Dalpogetti, AJ Cerasi, Ethan Garza, Sam Jimenez and, seated in front, Ben Fletcher. Missing from photo is Jack Anderson. Photo Contributed

With a little over a month until the start of the 2022-23 school year, Escalon’s boys basketball and football programs have concluded their competitive efforts for the summer.



Head varsity boys basketball coach Nate Bartelink termed it a “productive summer” for both the varsity and JV/freshman levels.

“Varsity battled through some injuries and illnesses during June and we didn’t have our full squad for any of the 17 games we played, but we still won 10 games against quality competition,” Bartelink explained. “Everyone got a lot of game experience that should benefit us when the season gets hits. We have talent on the roster and continue to improve. The team seems to be developing good chemistry; hopefully that is something that we can build upon.”

The JV/freshman combo squad played a dozen games, winning eight and Bartelink said there is a nice blend of talent at both the freshman and sophomore levels.

“Overall, we’ve seen a good level of off-season commitment from the players in the program,” he added.

Among the opponents the Cougars faced off with during the summer campaign were Bret Harte, Buhach Colony, Cosumnes Oaks, Johansen, Manteca McNair, Oakdale, Piedmont, Ripon, Riverbank, Sacramento, Sonora and Tokay.

“We have many multi-sport athletes in our program, so they have been busy with practice and games for multiple sports on the same day throughout the month of June. I give those guys a lot of credit for juggling their busy schedules and making an effort to improve as basketball players,” Bartelink summarized. “We’re looking forward to the 2022-23 season.”



Wrapping up their busy summer, the varsity Cougars traveled to the Stagg Tournament in Stockton on Thursday, June 30.

“There were 16 teams there and it was really just such a long day,” said varsity football head coach Andrew Beam. “We started playing at 3 p.m. and the championship game didn’t start until 9:30 p.m.”

Escalon was 7-0 to start the day, including going 4-0 in pool play, which gave them the top seed out of their pool into bracket play.

“In bracket play, we beat Vallejo, Stagg and then we beat Manteca in the semifinals,” said Beam. “Then we lost to St. Mary’s in the championship. They are a very well coached team; they platoon a lot while a lot of our guys go both ways. We just ran out of gas.”

The best part of the final tournament of the summer though, said the coach, was that everyone got in for some snaps, every player had some significant playing time.

“Overall it was a positive experience,” he said.

However, taking second place wasn’t where the Cougars wanted to be at the end of the day.

“We go 7-1 and they were mad they didn’t win,” Beam said of the team’s intensity and drive.

That should bode well for the upcoming season, along with the fact that the team got to see what some younger players can do on the gridiron.

“Not one time during the summer did we have our full complement of starting players,” Beam explained.

Like the basketball team, some injuries and illnesses prevented the regular starting players from all being there at the same time, but Beam said that did offer an opportunity for others.

He pointed to three in particular that made the most of that summer showcase.

“David Silva at corner and Nico Franzia at tight end did a good job stepping in to those roles,” he said. “And Talan Reider has been a great surprise this summer, a junior, he’s a tough kid that doesn’t say a word but goes out and does the job.”

Now, the team will spend time in the weight room, lifting four days a week until their first practice on Monday, July 25.

Beam said it did seem like a short ‘off season’ for his team and, in reality, it was, as they were playing until mid-December, going deep in the playoffs and capturing the Section title.

“When you’re playing football in December, it (the season) comes back around quick,” he said.