There probably hasn’t been a more satisfying road trip in recent history than the one the JV Cougars took on Friday night. They came back from Hilmar with a win, taking the gridiron contest by a 32-27 final and snapping what had been a 41-game JV winning streak for Hilmar in the process.
“We stressed all week that Hilmar hasn’t won 41 straight by accident, and that it would take a fight to the final minute to end it – which is exactly what it took,” said head coach Brant Rose.
The score by quarters in Hilmar on Sept. 30 saw host Hilmar getting on the board first with a 10-yard pass for a touchdown and the extra point to go up 7-0.
In the second quarter, it was Escalon getting even, with an 85-yard touchdown pass and run from Logan Huebner to Sam Jimenez. The point after attempt was good to knot the score at 7-7. Then the Cougars went ahead, converting on a 4-yard rushing touchdown from Carson Medina and the PAT good, for a 14-7 advantage.
Hilmar, however, came back on a 1-yard rushing play and nailed the extra point to draw even, 14-14. The home team then tacked on a late first half score on another 1-yard rush and PAT, to lead it 21-14 at the half.
“I’m proud of how the players persevered to win this game after falling behind early and trailing at the half,” Rose said.
In the third quarter, Medina went in to the end zone on a 14-yard rushing play but the point after attempt was no good, leaving Escalon trailing 21-20. The JV Cougars then got the lead, though, as quarterback Huebner went in on a six-yard rushing play. Escalon tried for two but were stymied, but were on top 26-21.
After another JV Cougar touchdown – a 2-yard run by Medina – the team went for two again and failed, though they extended the lead to 32-21.
Hilmar connected on a 6-yard pass play for a touchdown and went for two but failed, trailing 32-27 with a few minutes left in the fourth.
The host Yellowjackets had the ball late and were driving for the possible go ahead touchdown but were thwarted by the Cougar defense and the celebration was on as the seconds ticked down.
“We had huge games by Medina, Huebner and Jimenez but a key interception by Kyrin Barajas in the third quarter that led to the go ahead score turned the tide of the game and gave us the winning momentum to finish the game,” said Rose. “The players are thrilled, and this win puts them on the inside track to a TVL title.”
It was a low-scoring contest in Escalon when the Hilmar freshman football team came to town. The visitors went home with a 6-0 win following the Thursday night, Sept. 29 contest.
“It was 0-0 at the half and we had muffed a punt on our side of the field but Co Northcutt came up with a big interception,” said head coach Joey Costa. “This game was a defensive game on both sides. We gave up the go ahead touchdown on a fourth and six inside the final two minutes.”
The Cougar defense did block the extra point.
“The defense played really well with exception of giving up contain on the lone score of the game,” Costa said. “We just couldn’t get anything going on the offensive side.”
The team hosts Stagg in non-league play on Thursday, Oct. 6.