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Homecoming A 73-0 Blowout - Cougars Bring Too Much Firepower To Bear On Bruins
By the end of the first quarter, it was already 23-0. By the end of the first half, there was no doubt Escalon was going to send the crowd home happy from the 2011 Homecoming, putting 34 more points on the board for a 57-0 lead over the visiting Riverbank Bruins.

Though Riverbank has three wins on the season and has shown improvement, the Bruins still are no match for some of the tougher Trans-Valley League programs, including Escalon.

When it was all over, 14 different Cougars had logged time carrying the ball, nine different people had figured in to the scoring and the 73-0 final was the most lopsided in recent history.

"I know in my time as a head coach, we have never scored that many points," said coach Mark Loureiro.

Even more impressive, a good share of the offense came from those 'seconds and thirds' in the line up, the players that have to bide their time during a game to get onto the field. But it is their work on the practice field every other day that has them prepared to perform.

"People don't realize, our seconds and thirds go against our firsts in practice every day," Loureiro said.

The high caliber of play of the 'firsts' forces the seconds and thirds to step up as well, and that makes for a team with more depth, a team that is ready to go and a team that is starting to come together at all levels.

"I'm watching the film smiling," Loureiro said on Sunday afternoon. "We've got our seconds and thirds flying to the ball, playing with enthusiasm and heart, I think that really helps the chemistry of this team and you've got to have a meshing to be successful."

The Homecoming crowd had ample opportunity to cheer and Loureiro said the best part of the game was everyone getting in and having a chance to contribute.

The game featured two safeties, a ton of Cougar running yardage and a machine that, try as they might, the Riverbank Bruins could just not stop.

In the first quarter, Josh Miguel scored on a 10-yard run with quarterback/kicker Gino Franceschetti adding the extra point. Gilberto Mancilla then made a tackle in the end zone on a bad snap for a punt, getting the first safety to make it 9-0. A 57-yard punt return by Miguel, kick good, and a 3-yard run from Joey Ratto, kick good, made it 23-0 after the first quarter.

In the second quarter, touchdowns came from Matt Roberson (17, 14 yard runs), Miguel (18 yards), Ratto (20 yards) and Ian Fitzgerald (1 yard run). Franceschetti hit on four of the five extra points to put Escalon up 57-0.

After a halftime that included the crowning of Leah Archuleta as the Homecoming Queen and the presentation of assorted gifts to the new royalty by the football team captains, it was back to business.

Jason Robbins (1 yard run), Alan Gonzalez (safety), and Nathan Chunn (1 yard run) rounded out the scoring for the Cougars in the third quarter. There was no scoring in the fourth quarter - which featured a running clock - so the final was 73-0.

"A lot of kids did a great job," Loureiro said.

Ratto, who very often is a defensive key with his ability to bat down passes, made more of a mark on the offensive side Friday night.

"He could be the showcase back for a lot of teams," Loureiro agreed. "He does a great job handling punts and he's a weapon ... if other teams start keying on Josh and Matt, that's when Joey takes over."

For his part, Ratto was just happy to be involved in the Homecoming win.

"It feels great, especially having the whole town out here to support us," Ratto said.

He also praised the offensive line for doing a "great job" in creating room for him to run.

Team captain and defensive stalwart Shane Silveira said everyone contributed.

"We knew we would have a good game and it was just a good, solid team win," he said. "We're coming together, we need to keep on getting better, work as a team."

The second 'O' line of Tyson Pomicpic, Joey Gutierrez, Tyler Yost, Richard Ellis and Alex Stober earned some praise from Loureiro for their work, while defensively, the leaders were Johnathon Costa with seven tackles, Mancilla with six tackles, Nate Caton with six tackles and a sack. Fitzgerald and Stober each also had a sack, while Alec VonAlvensleben had an interception and Garrett Wade and Alonso Plascencia each had a fumble recovery. Roberson was the leading rusher, seven carries for 112 yards and VonAlvensleben pulled in two passes for 44 yards.

"We prepared for them," senior Travis James said of Riverbank, and how the Cougars did not take them lightly. He also was glad to get the Homecoming win.

"It just makes everyone become a closer team," he said.

Quarterback Franceschetti, who didn't do too much throwing on Friday but did plenty of kicking for extra points, said staying on top of the game was important.

"We knew we could beat them, we just had to make sure to not lose focus this week," he said.

His grandparents, Sket and Angie Franceschetti, were also part of the celebration, honored as Grand Marshals for the Homecoming Parade.

"I loved learning more about them," he said of hearing the little biography read during the float parade in between the JV and varsity games. The Junior Class float, based on San Francisco, was tops in that competition with the Senior-themed Hollywood a close second.

The game was key, though, as the Cougars made it through healthy and are ready to head into the next battle.

They travel to Ripon to face the Indians, who had a bye last Friday and have had two weeks to prepare for the Cougars.

"They're going to be ready," Loureiro said.

The Indians lost to Hilmar in their Trans-Valley League opener and will look to get a win against the Cougars.

Leaders for the Indians are senior Jake McCreath, a wingback, split end and sometimes quarterback that can hurt opposing teams in many ways; top receiver Cole Herrin and junior quarterback Kyle Wengel. Also key are rushing threats Josh McCreath and Anthony Baciocco and leading the linebacker corps is TJ Flores.

"They run a Wing T, like us, it will be like looking in the mirror," said Loureiro. "And this is like a must win game for them, a good test for us."

Kickoff will be about 7:30 p.m. Friday in Ripon.