Final score in the final game of the season was 36-0 in favor of Hughson.
It’s not the way the Escalon JV Cougars football team wanted to close out the campaign, but the squad just ran out of gas in the finale.
They hosted the Huskies on Friday, Nov. 1 and found themselves down 16-0 after the first quarter, Hughson scoring on a five-yard pass play and a 47-yard run, adding the successful two-point conversion each time.
The visitors added two more scores in the third and one in the fourth but were stopped on each of those two-point conversion attempts for the 36-0 final.
Their third touchdown came on the second half kickoff, which was returned 87 yards for the score. They then capitalized later in the third, returning an interception 36 yards for the score and closed out the game with a 17-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
“We finished the season with an overall record of 6-4,” said head coach Brant Rose.
The JV Cougars went 3-2 in the tough Trans-Valley League, finishing in third place.
“It was a season filled with ups and downs, and losing three close games summarized how our team is as competitive as any team we faced,” Rose said. “We were truly just a few plays away from being league champions. We were a really inexperienced team and I think our close losses reflect that.”
The JV team also finished the season without some of its starters, losing some to injury prior to the finale. Still, Rose said it was a positive experience for the young players overall.
“This is a good group that is only going to continue to improve and become better football players each year played in our program,” Rose said. “We are expecting a lot more wins from this group in the future.”
The freshmen closed out their season on a winning note, hitting the road for a game at Hughson on Wednesday, Oct. 30. The game was moved up a day so as not to conflict with the Halloween observance.
Head coach Joey Costa said the frosh Cougars came away with a hard fought 28-20 win.
“We had the lead at the half, 14-7, but then we gave up a punt return and another big play that saw us go down 20-14,” Costa explained.
But with the resilience the young squad has shown in crafting a string of late season wins, they came back once again.
The freshmen put two unanswered touchdowns on the board after Hughson took the lead and held off the Huskies for the season ending victory.
Ryker Peters scored all four touchdowns; Javier Gutierrez added the extra points.
Costa also pointed to a huge reception from Josiah Cortes, a big fourth down run from Gutierrez and a fumble recovery by CJ Miller as being key plays in the game. Gutierrez also picked off a Hughson pass in the closing moments of the contest to help seal the win.
Defensively, Hunter Budd and Christian Rowe got high marks from the coach.
“We went 3-1 in the TVL and shared the title with Hilmar,” said Costa. “We ended up 4-5 overall, we turned it around and I am very proud of the guys. They are very resilient and when we had to make some plays against Hughson, we did.”