Crafting a big win on the road, the Escalon JV football team came home with a 35-19 victory from their Friday night trip to Sonora.
It was the third straight win for the squad and they had to battle back from a first quarter deficit to get it.
Sonora jumped on top early, getting points on the board practically before Escalon knew what happened.
“We received the opening kickoff and then there was a sack, a strip of the ball that they returned for a touchdown,” said head coach Brant Rose. “We were three and out our next possession and we had a bad punt, that gave Sonora a short field and they scored again.”
This time, the home team missed the extra point but they took a 13-0 lead in the first quarter.
Escalon finally got their game going with three touchdowns in the second quarter and took a 21-13 lead at the half.
“We got a seven-yard pass from Ty Harris to Logan Webster and Miguel Sandoval kicked the extra point,” Rose said of the first score, which trimmed the Sonora lead to 13-7.
Escalon took the lead shortly thereafter, on a 63-yard run by J.P. Lial and the extra point was good by Sandoval. That made it 14-13 and the visiting JV Cougars never looked back.
Before the end of the second quarter, Lial took the ball in on a 21-yard run and Sandoval kicked the extra point for the 21-13 lead.
“In the third quarter, J.P. Lial got a fumble recovery and returned it 55 yards for a touchdown,” Rose said.
Sandoval added the point after and it was a 28-13 lead and Escalon’s final score of the game came in the fourth quarter.
“Jaden Fontes scored on a one-yard run and the kick was good,” Rose said.
With a 35-13 lead and time winding down, the JV Cougars had to defend one more time but a determined Sonora squad punched one final score in in the closing seconds, going in from five yards out for the 35-19 final.
“Lial had a heck of a game, he was all over the field,” Rose noted of the three-touchdown night for the young Cougar. “He made big offensive plays; he had six carries for 102 yards and was a playmaker on offense for us.”
Rose said it wasn’t a typical Cougar game, as they used big plays for their scoring drives as opposed to methodical marches down the field.
“It wasn’t your classic Wing-T,” Rose explained. “We’ve been a big play offense and our defense is playing really well. For our defense to hold them (Sonora) to one offensive touchdown is pretty good; they might be for real.”
Leading the defensive effort on Friday night were Demetrius Teixeira, who had a forced fumble and was the team leader in tackles; Tyler Medina with an interception; and Shane Campbell, who forced a fumble.
Rose added they went in with some concerns about the option offense that Sonora uses but they were able to cover well and keep the Wildcats in check.
Coming up, the JV team will host the River City Raiders, a Division I school out of the West Sacramento area on Friday, Sept. 7 at 5:30 p.m.
“We’ll be outnumbered and it will be good for us to see the athletes they have,” Rose said of facing off with a high-caliber foe. “It will be a good final tune-up headed into league. We’ll be challenged and hopefully it prepares us for a rugged league schedule.”
It was another tough night on the gridiron for the Escalon freshmen, playing on their home field Thursday, Aug. 30.
They welcomed the Sonora Wildcats to town and fell to the visitors by a 35-0 final.
“I will say, we played better this week,” head coach Joey Costa said of the team, which has several players suiting up for their first taste of football.
With 19 players on the team, two just joined and haven’t played yet, while seven players are seeing the gridiron for the first time this season.
Sonora built up a 26-0 lead at the half and walked off with the 35-0 decision.
“Quarterback Josh Miller plays both ways for us and has done well, also Austin Roberts, at fullback and linebacker,” Costa said of team leaders. “Our two linemen, Sebastian Snow and Casey Vasallo have played very well.”
The young Cougars did get a few drives going on Thursday night but just couldn’t come up with the big play when they needed it.
“Even though we’re not having the success we want, at least we’re getting the experience,” Costa added.
The frosh squad heads out this week, traveling to take on the River City Raiders in a Thursday evening game, Sept. 6. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.
“We’re going to be tested,” Costa said.
The team has a full slate of games ahead for this season; the next home game won’t be until Sept. 27 when they host the Sierra Timberwolves.