It was a Homecoming Week win for the JV football Cougars, as the squad earned a 35-20 win over visiting Kimball, out of Tracy.
The Sept. 10 game also saw the return of JV head coach Brant Rose, who had missed the past two contests. The team went 1-1 in his absence, winning at home against Calaveras but falling on the road at Sonora.
In the Friday night contest against the Jaguars, Rose was glad to be back on the sideline. His team trailed 8-7 after the first quarter but regained the lead with a 21-0 run in the second quarter and enjoyed a 28-8 advantage at the half.
The first score of the night was for the JV Cougars, quarterback Jagger Scott finding Nathan Krieger with a five-yard pass play for the touchdown. Talan Reider put the extra point through for a 7-0 lead.
“On the very next possession, Kimball scored on a 29-yard pass play and the 2-point conversion run was good,” said Rose.
That gave the visitors a short-lived 8-7 lead.
“In the second quarter, Talan Reider scored on a two-yard run and the kick was good so we went up 14-8,” Rose said.
Two more JV Cougar scores would follow; Josh Graham finding the end zone on a three-yard run with the kick good, making it 21-8.
“Nathan Krieger had an interception on Kimball’s next possession,” explained Rose, “and then on the very next play broke a 50-yard touchdown run.”
With Reider’s point after, it was a comfortable 28-8 lead.
Escalon received the second half kickoff but Rose said the Kimball team made some adjustments and came out with a “stout defense” and didn’t allow any scoring in the third.
Kimball got an early touchdown in the fourth quarter with the conversion attempt no good, getting to within 28-14.
The capper for the JV Cougars came late in the fourth, Scott connecting with Nico Franzia on a 34-yard catch and run, kick good, for a 35-14 lead.
“On their final possession, Kimball scored on a 27-yard run as time expired so they didn’t even get to attempt the point after,” Rose noted.
Defensive back Anthony Cerasi did his best to stop the Kimball player from getting into the end zone but couldn’t contain the Jaguar, who hit him in full stride and broke through for the score.
Rose said the JV team played to a 3-1 mark in preseason, losing just the one road game when they faced off against a tough Sonora team.
“This was just a big confidence booster,” the coach added of defeating Kimball. “We beat a good team, a big school, we can be proud of that win but now we’re back to 0-0.”
The JV boys go on the road to face off against a 4-0 Hughson team on Sept. 17.
“They have four wins, four shutouts,” said Rose. “Hughson is undefeated but our group is proving to be a really good group; they’re tough.”
The JV game starts at 5 p.m.
Though they took a shutout loss on the road, head coach Joey Costa said there were definitely some positives to take away from the game. The freshmen traveled to Tracy to face the Kimball Jaguars on Sept. 9 and came home on the wrong end of a 40-0 final score.
“We had a nine-minute drive to start the game,” Costa said of eating up most of the first quarter clock with a sustained offensive possession.
But a fumble stopped the drive and Kimball was able to get on the board with a couple of scores in the first half.
“It was 12-0 at halftime,” Costa said, noting that his team stayed in the game and forced the host Jaguars to work hard. “The whole offensive line played well and defensively, Noah Gutierrez had a good game.”
The coach said except for a couple of untimely miscues, his team was in the game and that bodes well as they get ready for league action.
“They’re playing more physically,” Costa said. “They’re starting to understand.”
With the preseason now behind them, the frosh boys can focus on starting Trans-Valley League play. They are scheduled to host Hughson on Thursday, Sept. 16 with a 6 p.m. kickoff at Engel Field.