With victories over Ripon, the Escalon freshman and JV football teams captured Trans-Valley League titles this week.
For the junior varsity squad, they were on the road Friday night and came away with a 29-14 win to improve their TVL record to 4-0 with one game to go, clinching the title.
After a scoreless first quarter, Ben Gonzalez got the scoring going with a 2-yard touchdown run in the second quarter; Logan Huebner added the point after for a 7-0 lead. That was the only score in the first half. The JV Cougars got another score in the third quarter, as Carson Medina broke free for a 49-yard rushing touchdown. This time the point after attempt was no good but Escalon had a 13-0 lead.
Ripon came back quickly, scoring on a 2-yard rushing touchdown with the point after trimming the lead to 13-7 and the host team took the lead late in the third, scoring on an 80-yard pass with the kick good, making it 14-13 in favor of the Indians.
“Defensively we dominated this game, but Ripon capitalized on two big plays in the third that kept them in the game until the end,” noted Escalon JV head coach Brant Rose. “Really proud how the boys battled back after falling behind.”
The team didn’t panic after Ripon took the lead; rather, they continued to stay focused and answered the Indian scores with a touchdown early in the fourth. Medina scored on an 11-yard run, Kyrin Barajas took in the 2-point conversion as Escalon regained the lead at 21-14. The final score of the night came on a pass from quarterback Huebner to Sam Jimenez, a 17-yard completion for the touchdown. Jimenez then ran in the 2-point conversion to make it 29-14 Escalon. Neither team would score again, and the JV Cougars had the win and title in hand as the clock ran out.
“The score does not reflect how much we controlled this game,” said Rose. “We missed out on a commanding first half lead by having two turnovers on downs in the red zone; one on the 11-yard line and another on the 2-yard line.”
But they got the win, the TVL title, and have one final game remaining as they head to Livingston for an Oct. 28 contest.
Escalon’s JV improved to 8-1 overall with the victory.
“This was a big win, not only because of the win over a rival, but because this secured the TVL title. They really deserve that accolade” Rose said.
Defeating Ripon by an 18-8 final on Thursday, Oct. 20, the youngest Cougars claimed a share of the TVL title with the win. They completed their season with the home contest, ending with a 5-5 mark overall.
Ripon got the first score of the night in the opening quarter to go up 8-0 but Escalon answered with a touchdown in the second to trail 8-6 at the half.
The young Cougars responded with a strong effort in the second half, getting into the end zone twice and the defense really making a difference.
“We had a big goal line stand at the 1-yard line as the half ended,” head coach Joey Costa said of keeping Ripon at bay.
Co Northcutt had a couple of interceptions on the night, including a key one in the second quarter to thwart a Ripon drive.
Jeremy Grivette scored on a 30-yard run in the second quarter to get Escalon on the board and he also scored late in the fourth quarter.
“Biggest play of the game was a pick six by Ben Ferreira in the fourth quarter,” Costa noted. “The defense played great after giving up that first drive.”
Standouts on the defensive side for the freshmen were Co Northcutt, Jeremy Grivette, Beau Morgan, Preston Sizuela, Ben Ferreira and Logan Wentzell.
“Very proud of the way we kept hanging in there and battling,” Costa said. “Our defense carried us along with special teams. We dealt with a lot of adversity with injuries and other distractions, so I’m proud we finished on a high note.”