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Gridiron Win - Varsity Steamrolls Past Visiting Dixon Rams, 67-0
What is there to say about a 67-0 thrashing of an opponent on the football field? Just say everyone did their job - and did it nearly to perfection.

There wasn't much that went wrong for the Escalon varsity Cougars on Friday night and when the first unit was done putting a few scores on the board, the second and third units came in and played a superb game as well.

"It brings the team together," pointed out head coach Mark Loureiro of the one-sided win, hosting Dixon in the preseason finale on Sept. 23. "It helps the chemistry of the team, it builds depth and it gives you confidence."

Loureiro said not only did the first string players gain confidence in their back-ups, the second and third stringers showed they can play the game well, boosting their own confidence and that of their coaches.

The Cougars rattled off 27 points in the first quarter, 27 points in the second and added 13 more in the final quarter.

"Defensively, we held them to one first down and minus 7 yards of offense," coach Loureiro said of the stifling Cougar defense.

Escalon improved to 4-0 and opens its Trans-Valley League campaign this week, capping off a hectic Homecoming Week with a game against the Riverbank Bruins. Josh Miguel got the scoring parade started Friday night, going in twice in the first quarter, on a 24-yard run and a 15-yard pass reception from quarterback Gino Franceschetti. The QB also added the point after on the first score, but the second was no good.

Matt Roberson scored on a 9-yard run, Franceschetti kick good and Joey Ratto found the end zone after a 4-yard run, kick good, for a 27-0 lead after one quarter.

The assault continued in the second quarter, Miguel scoring on a 24-yard run, kick no good and a huge 71-yard rumble, kick good; with Roberson scoring on a 4-yard run, kick good. Nathan Chunn came in to get some solid work on the gridiron and scored from 28 yards out to close out the first half scoring, with the kick good by Franceschetti for an insurmountable 54-0 lead.

No scoring in the third quarter, but Justin Camara came in and scored two fourth quarter touchdowns for the Cougars, from 1 yard and 3 yards out, with the first kick good and the second missing the mark.

"We got a lot of nice performances," said Loureiro. "Josh had a breakout game, five carries for 153 yards and three touchdowns, he caught two passes for 26 yards and a touchdown. Nathan Chunn had seven carries for 84 yards and a touchdown as a fullback with that second group and Matt Roberson had six carries for 67 yards."

Franceschetti was a perfect 4-for-4 on the night for 69 yards and a touchdown pass, Alec VonAlvensleben had two catches for 43 yards. Loureiro credited the offensive line for keeping the Dixon defense at bay, allowing for big runs and a perfect passing night. He pointed to the play of tackles Alan Gonzalez and Nate Caton, and guards Shane Silveira, Chris Kowalski as being key and said the tight ends did a great job blocking as well, including Brent Montgomery, Alex Loureiro and Andrew Zavala.

Silveira had two sacks, as did Alejandro Ortega, Troy Doggett added a sack, with interceptions from Ratto and Trey Phillips.

"David Gonzales had his best game here at Escalon High School, he had seven tackles and did a great job on coverage," Loureiro noted. "Our inside linebackers, Robbie Steves and Johnathon Costa did a good job, Travis James, Caton and Silveira were around the ball all night on defense.

Jason Robbins, he has been banged up, we got him back and he had a good game, Colton Smith and Dante Bandini both played well in the second group ... we got a great effort out of everybody."

Junior Justin Camara was glad to get in on the scoring.

"It felt great, it was easy with the great offensive line we have," Camara said, noting that putting in all the time and effort at practice paid off in finding the end zone twice.

Fellow junior Jason Robbins had a few carries and also played well on special teams.

"I'm just happy to get out there, show what I can do," he said.

Junior Trey Phillips, who had one of the two Cougar picks, found the ball in his arms while going on a defensive coverage assignment.

"That felt pretty good," he admitted of the catch-and-run. Like Robbins, the junior was glad to have a chance to get on the field.

"Hard work pays off," Phillips said.

Escalon had 24 first downs to Dixon's one and rolled up 490 yards of offense on 421 yards rushing (47 plays) and 69 yards passing. They also had five penalties for 35 yards. Dixon had minus seven yards, 21 carries for minus 16, completing 10-of-19 passes for nine yards and two interceptions. They were not penalized.

"I started subbing in the second quarter, we had 46 kids in the game," Loureiro said.

This week, the Cougars host Riverbank (3-2) for Homecoming and Loureiro said the goal is clear: just win.

"The job of the football team is to win the Homecoming game," Loureiro said. "There's no successful Homecoming without a football victory, we have to make sure we take care of that."

They will have to stay focused, as Riverbank comes in with more wins already than it has seen in years.

"They look way more organized, the kids are playing with a purpose," said Loureiro. "Coach (James) Oliver, he came in, he knows he has a big job but he's doing great with those kids."

Kickoff will be about 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30 at Engel Field.