After a “really good first six days” of practice, second year varsity head football coach Andrew Beam likes where his Cougars are in the process.
The 2019 edition of the varsity football team had Monday through Saturday practices this past week, finally getting the chance to work out in full pads and helmets on Saturday. The prior five days featured plenty of conditioning, drills, learning new plays and more.
“This is a team we are excited about,” Beam said of himself and his coaching crew. “We have 36 guys on the roster, we return eight on defense and nine on offense.”
The sheer number of returning starters – along with the addition of players from a 9-1 JV team – seemingly has the Cougars in solid position to battle for a Trans-Valley League title.
But there is plenty of work to do.
“We are so much further ahead than we were last year at this time,” added Beam, noting that changes he made in the game plan and approach in his first season have seeped in to the team psyche.
“This preseason is going to be one of, if not the toughest, we have ever played,” he noted, as the team looks to challenge itself and get sharp for the TVL campaign.
Union Mine, Calaveras, Sonora and a Division I Downey team all await the Cougars in the preseason.
“We really stepped up our schedule,” Beam said. “We have a bye after Downey, then we start TVL at Hilmar.”
Though he said they aren’t looking that far ahead, the coach said the Hilmar game is definitely something the team wants to be ready for, looking to avenge recent losses to the Yellowjackets.
Beam said he anticipates a breakout year for a couple of his players and is eager to see what the entire team can do against competition.
“We know this is a group that is very physical,” he said.
Five team captains have been selected, the first time – at least in recent history – that there have been that many players tapped for the honor.
Colton Panero, Kaden Christensen, Jacob Walden, David Camacho and Damien Tom are this year’s captains.
“It’s good to have that many guys worthy of the captaincy,” Beam said.
Along with Beam as head coach, returning staffers include defensive coordinator Brandon Hoover, offensive/defensive line coach Joe Cowan, linebacker and strength/conditioning coach Victor Carrillo, ‘master motivator’ and defensive line coach Frosty Van Houten. New to the staff is EHS alum Alex Von Alvensleben, who will work with the wide receivers and defensive backs.
“He’s back from college, wanted to get involved,” Beam said. “It’s nice to have a full coaching staff that are all Escalon High School alumni.”
The JV and varsity squads will travel to Argonaut for a scrimmage on Friday, Aug. 16 with the JV at 7 p.m., varsity at 8 p.m.
Opening preseason game will be Friday, Aug. 23 as the Cougars welcome Union Mine out of El Dorado to Engel Field.