By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Homecoming Victory Cougars Jump Out Early On Bullfrogs
It seemed like every time you turned around, Escalon was back on the move offensively, and the 22-0 lead at the end of the first quarter on Friday night was proof enough.

With seven turnovers and three sacks to their defensive credit, the varsity Cougars controlled the football game from the opening kickoff, shutting down the visiting Bret Harte Bullfrogs 43-0 to celebrate Homecoming 2009 in style.

"We played on a short field the whole night," agreed head coach Mark Loureiro. "We jumped out on them kind of quick.

"What Bret Harte does offensively plays into our hands defensively."

Escalon had 13 first downs to Bret Harte's nine and had 275 total yards of offense compared to 146 for the Bullfrogs.

Four scores in the first quarter set the tone for the evening, with the Cougars adding another touchdown in the second quarter and two scores in the third.

Bret Harte took the opening kickoff but went nowhere to start the game, having to punt away. Josh Miguel returned it to the 40-yard line, breaking a few tackles along the way. A few plays later, Steve Silva ran it in from 16 yards out but the kick was blocked, giving the Cougars a 6-0 lead with 9:39 to play in the first quarter.

Less than a minute later, sophomore David Gonzales stepped up to pick off a Bret Harte pass and found the end zone after a 38-yard run. With the kick by Jason Diniz good, it was 13-0 Escalon with 8:48 to go.

Diniz connected on a 28-yard field goal with 6:52 to play to make it 16-0 and Colin Keener stopped Bret Harte on the next possession, grabbing an interception of his own to give the ball back to the Cougars. A nice catch by David Pickhartz off the pass from Spencer Franceschetti set up a 20-yard touchdown pass to Nick Largent. Again the kick was blocked, but with 3:52 left in the first quarter, the Bullfrogs were looking at an insurmountable 22-0 Escalon lead.

In the second quarter, Miguel came up with Escalon's third interception and Bret Harte was able to stop the Cougars on that drive, not allowing them to get more points on the board. Late in the second, Silva ran in from 7 yards out and the kick was good, putting Escalon up 29-0 at the half. Cordero Bryand picked off a late Bret Harte pass to keep the Bullfrogs from scoring before the intermission.

"Offensively, we were okay, we had a couple of dropped passes that we should have caught," Loureiro said. "This will be a good film to watch, to see where we made our mistakes."

Defensively, the coach said he was proud of the effort, especially the way the team stepped up to keep Bret Harte from cashing in any points.

"We knew we would wear on them, so we attacked more, did some blitzing. We challenged them at halftime to not let Bret Harte score. We got a lot of kids in the game and it was good to see the second unit kids battle."

Gonzales had an interception, Largent had an interception and six tackles, Keener also registered six tackles and an interception on the night. Bryand pulled in a Bret Harte pass and Miguel made a diving headlong play to scoop a Bret Harte pass nearly off the ground for the fifth interception of the game for the Cougars. J.D. Visser and Anthony Munoz each recovered a fumble.

"We also got a lot of sacks, Derrick DeFreitas had two, Victor Carrillo had five tackles and a sack, overall defensively we were very happy."

Second half scoring for Escalon came on a 6-yard run by Silva with the kick good with about six minutes to go in the third quarter. The second offensive unit came in at that point and with 1:48 to play in the third, Mac Heard found the end zone after a 5-yard run, Diniz adding the kick for the point after to make it 43-0.

"You've always got to find things to work on," Loureiro said. "Here we've got the best snapper, holder and kicker in the league and we had problems with our PATs, we had two more blocked this week and we've got to clean that up."

In the second defensive unit, Loureiro pointed to solid minutes from linebacker Adrian Cortes, and Mark Ceniceros in the secondary as being important, along with solid work from the Hughes brothers, James and Aaron.

"Mac Heard ran the ball well, he improves every week and our two junior tackles, Jacob Wallace and Robbie Leal, did a nice job for us," Loureiro said.

Steven Martinez also got high marks for his work with the second unit.

"It was good to see everybody get a piece of this thing," Loureiro told his players in their post game huddle on Friday, before welcoming family and friends in to the circle for congratulations on the win. "You guys lived up to what Homecoming is all about."

Escalon closes out the preseason with a perfect 5-0 mark, the same as Modesto Christian. Other Trans-Valley League teams and preseason records are: Ripon, 4-1; Riverbank, 2-3; Ripon Christian, 2-3; Hughson, 1-4. Escalon will open Trans-Valley League play this week, Oct. 16, hosting Ripon Christian at Engel Field.





RUSHING YARDS 20- -28 47-194

ATT-COMP-INT 27-12-5 8-3-0



PENALTIES 2-20 6-40