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JV Cougars Prevail At Home
It wasn't the prettiest game and there were some nail biting moments at the end, but the JV Cougars came away with a 20-13 win against visiting Ripon in Friday night football action at Engel Field.

Escalon had a sizeable advantage in total yards for the night, with 426 yards of total offense to 238 for the Indians, but had to hold off a hard-charging Ripon team in the fourth quarter to grab the Trans-Valley League victory.

Neither team got on the board in the first quarter, but Escalon struck twice in the second to lead it 14-0 at the half.

"We came out in the first half and moved the ball along, but then fumbled," head coach Randy Northcutt said of not capitalizing on early chances. "We scored two times in the second quarter on 19 rushing plays and also did some passing."

Nathan Chunn took it in from a yard out in the second quarter to get the scoring started, Alec VonAlvensleben added the point after on the kick for a 7-0 lead. The second score came from VonAlvensleben on a 23 yard rushing play, he added the kick for a 14-0 edge at the half.

The JV squad made it a 20-0 game when quarterback Phillip Kimble found VonAlvensleben on the end of a 54-yard pass play. The kick was blocked but it appeared as though the JV Cougars were in command.

Ripon, though, had other ideas and came storming back, connecting on a 10-yard pass pay with the kick good in the third and a 54-yard scoring strike with the kick no good with plenty of time left in the fourth to cut the lead to 20-13.

Northcutt said his team started passing a little more in the third quarter, as did Ripon and the Indians were able to use their passing game more effectively as the game wore on.

With a one-score edge, Escalon got the ball and went on a fourth quarter 13-play, 68-yard drive and looked poised to put the game away when they instead fumbled the ball away and Ripon recovered. But they were able to get it back on a Chunn interception to stop the Indians' drive for the potential go ahead score, and the JV squad was then able to run out the clock and hold on for the win.

"We knew it was going to be a tough battle," Northcutt said, noting that his team made some mistakes that, luckily, didn't cost them the game. "We fumbled when we got going on drives, we gave their kids time to pass, Ripon had only lost one game and they came in undefeated in league."

Orestimba, this week's opponent for the Homecoming game on Friday night, Oct. 15, also comes in undefeated so the teams will battle it out for first place honors in league play.

Against Ripon, Escalon completed 6-of-10 pass attempts, all by Kimble, for 122 yards and a touchdown and rushed 47 times for 208 yards. With 96 yards on special teams, they had 426 total. Ripon completed 8-of-20 pass attempts for 173 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. They rushed 19 times for just a total of 14 yards and had 51 yards on special teams for 238 total yards. Chunn got the interception and returned it 24 yards.

Leading the Cougars were VonAlvensleben, six carries for 77 yards and a touchdown, one catch for 54 yards and a touchdown. Jason Robbins had one catch for 13 yards, Robbie Steves had a catch for 14 yards and three carries for 14, Andrew Zavala had one catch for 24 yards, Brent Montgomery pulled in two passes for 24 yards, and Johnathon Costa had three carries for 10 yards.

Defensive leaders were Costa, VonAlvensleben, T.J. Doggett and Fernando Ceniceros, all with five tackles, Costa adding six assists. Steves and Robbins each had a sack, Ceniceros had two sacks, with three fumble recoveries by the JV squad on the night as well.

Northcutt said the team needs to stay focused this week, avoiding as much of the Homecoming distraction as possible.