They have been going to 7-on-7 scrimmages for much of the summer but this past week, Escalon played host to several teams as Engel Field was the host site for a 7-on-7 event.
New varsity head coach Andrew Beam said Central Catholic, Pitman, Chavez of Stockton, Ripon Christian and Waterford made the trip and Escalon rounded out the field of six squads. Thursday night, June 28 was the 7-on-7, running from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
“It worked out that every team wouldn’t play someone,” Beam said of lining up against four of the five other teams.
Escalon took snaps and was on defense against Central, Ripon Christian, Pitman and Waterford.
“We had 15 to 20 varsity guys out there,” Beam explained. “We also had about 15 from our JV group and they were rotating with Central and Chavez.”
The evening featured the chance to line up both offensively and defensively against each opponent, said Beam, working on skill positions and running set plays.
“This is the only competitive environment we’re able to get these kids today,” Beam added of the 7-on-7, which is played similar to flag football style, with no tackling, no pads and no helmets.
Many of the players turning out for the 7-on-7 will be moving up to varsity from playing at the JV level last year and the summer schedule helps introduce them to the speed of the game at the varsity level.
“Basically we played Tuesday and Thursday all summer,” Beam said. “They were all 7-on-7 with other schools; we played some large schools like Sonora, East Union and Downey, which was nice.”
Beam takes over the varsity head coaching job this season, replacing longtime coach Mark Loureiro, who retired at the end of the 2017-18 school year.
Brandon Hoover will be the defensive coordinator, Joe Cowan takes over the offensive and defensive line, Victor Carrillo works with the linebackers and the offensive line, while newcomer Drake Wells will work with wide receivers and defensive backs.
“He played college ball with Carrillo and he will be a great addition to our staff,” Beam said of Wells.
With Beam making the move to varsity, the head JV coaching position he held the past several seasons was vacated. Brant Rose, who had been an assistant with the varsity, moves to take over the JV head coaching job. Rose is also a teacher at EHS. Mark Walden, Derek Scott and Jonathan Costa will be JV assistants.
Whether there will be enough interest and players to field a freshman team will be determined after the start of the school year.
For Beam, he knows the shoes he is stepping into have left a huge imprint on the school and community.
“The big thing is to keep upholding the tradition of Escalon and Escalon High School football,” Beam said. “Remember who you are playing for, it’s all about tradition and expectations. We’ll be really young in terms of varsity but these guys have been winners at every level of football they have played so far.”
The Cougars will look to keep that tradition of winning going, even as they face off with a balanced Trans-Valley League and tough opponents including Ripon, Hilmar and Modesto Christian.
The squad was scheduled to take part in the Downey Tournament on Saturday, June 30 to close out the summer season.