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Football Finale Cougars Fall To Modesto Christian In Second Round
In every way, on every play, Modesto Christian was a bit better than Escalon.

And for the second time this season, the host Crusaders sent Escalon away with a loss.

This time, however, the loss signaled the end of the season for the Escalon Cougars, falling to Modesto Christian 49-7 in the second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV-B playoffs on Friday night. At 10-2, Escalon's season is over. Their only two losses this year came to Modesto Christian, which continues to roll at 12-0.

"They beat us at every position on every play," admitted head coach Mark Loureiro. "They played with tons of energy and they were a step faster than us in everything they did."

In a game on Nov. 6, MC edged past Escalon 21-16, with that win deciding the Trans-Valley League title. Friday night, it was a decisive Modesto Christian win, taking a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and blasting to a 28-0 advantage at the half.

Heavy rain at the start of the game left the field a bit slick and the sidelines muddy, and the rain came down periodically throughout the contest but was not a factor in the outcome.

"They caused us problems on both sides of the ball," Loureiro said of the Crusaders.

The Cougars, who last time were able to contain quarterback Isaiah Burse, had no answer for him this time. He had 17 rushes for 238 yards and passed for 99 yards. He rushed for four touchdowns and passed for another.

"He makes the other people around him better," Loureiro said.

Modesto Christian's Keaton Engel scored on a 47-yard rushing play on a third and 12 with 3:52 to go in the first quarter and a 25-yard pass from Burse found Kevin Roya with 23 seconds left in the opening quarter to make it 14-0. A 24-yard run by David Sjelin and a 91-yard run by Burse in the second made it 28-0 at the half.

"We did take an early injury that hurt us, Brandon Shaw went out with a mild concussion and he was big in both our offensive and defensive scheme," Loureiro said.

Even if Shaw had played the entire game, Loureiro said the outcome would have been the same - an MC win - but he feels the score would have been closer.

When Shaw went out, the Cougars had to shake up their line up a little bit and put people in some unfamiliar positions.

"Then they get two or three scores up on you and that takes you out of your game plan," Loureiro said.

The lone Escalon touchdown came in the third quarter, on a 16-yard scramble by quarterback Spencer Franceschetti with 6:05 to play. Jason Diniz added the point after to make it a 28-7 game. Rushing plays by Josh Miguel and Nick Largent, plus a big first down catch from David Pickhartz kept the drive going for Franceschetti to get it in the end zone.

But that was as close as the Cougars would get, with Modesto Christian answering back with another running touchdown by Burse in the third and two more runs from Burse in the fourth making for the 49-7 final.

Leading rusher for Escalon was Miguel, 14 carries for 58 yards, with Franceschetti running nine times for 35 yards. Pickhartz was the leading receiver, two catches for 25 yards, and Diniz also had a catch.

Defensively, J.D. Visser, Travis Cardoza and Gilbert Camacho each had a sack, with Nick Largent the leading tackler with 10, Miguel with six and Franceschetti with five.

"Looking back on the season, all in all it was a great one," Loureiro said. "We got beat by the best team in the history of their school. Sure, we're disappointed but we're better than what we showed Friday night.

"Our seniors have had four great years here, they've been champions three of their four years and they've only lost a handful of games."

Loureiro said the Modesto Christian - Central Catholic game due this week should be a battle.

"You can tell when a team is on a mission," Loureiro said of the Crusaders. "I think they'll give Central Catholic more than they want."





RUSHING YARDS 41-147 40-372

ATT-COMP-INT 10-3-3 10-6-0



PENALTIES 3-25 3-30