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55-12 Varsity Victory - Seven Cougars Find End Zone Against Riverbank
Breaking through the Riverbank offensive line, Cougar Matt Gallego, 68, gets a bead on the Riverbank quarterback in league action Friday night. Escalon won the contest, 55-12. - photo by Marg Jackson/The Times

Friday night’s football game at Riverbank went according to plan – a comfortable lead by halftime, allowing all players to get some quality time on the field for the Escalon varsity Cougars.

When the final whistle sounded, it was a 55-12 Escalon win.

“It was really good to get a win like that and we came out healthy,” said head coach Mark Loureiro. “The second kids got in and the exciting thing was that we had a lot of different kids score.”

Riverbank, which will play an independent schedule next season, played hard and never quit, but didn’t have enough to stop the Cougars from finding the end zone eight times during the course of the night. The host Bruins countered with a couple of nice scores but were down early and couldn’t contain the visitors’ offensive attack.

“Chase Tompson, Trenton Busch, Leon McDonald, it was nice to see those guys getting some good yards and scoring, Drake Silveira had six tackles and one interception, Marc Ney had three or four tackles in the secondary,” Loureiro explained. “I was excited by the energy the kids came out with, if you let teams hang around, they get better.”

Making a statement and getting some points on the board early was key, the coach said, and the Cougars were able to do that, with two touchdowns in the first quarter and four more scores in the second, taking a 41-6 halftime lead. One more touchdown in each of the third and fourth quarters sealed the win. Riverbank’s touchdowns came in the second and fourth quarters.

“Caleb threw the ball well, he was 4-for-8 for 142 yards and two touchdowns,” Loureiro said of senior quarterback Caleb Mullen. “Brandon Grogan had a big night, a 55-yard touchdown and an 84-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.”

First quarter scoring for Escalon came on a 2-yard run from Javier Perez and a 65-yard pass play from Mullen to Hunter Calton. In the second quarter, Wesley Dick found the end zone on a 1-yard run, Mullen completed the 55-yard pass play to Grogan, Riverbank scored on a 35-yard pass play and then Grogan returned the favor on the 84-yard kickoff return for a TD. The scoring was capped off by Chase Tompson, going in from 12 yards out.

In the third quarter, Trenton Busch scored on a 5-yard run and Leon McDonald shed several would-be tacklers at the line of scrimmage to scamper 58 yards for a score in the fourth quarter. Riverbank added the final touchdown of the night on an 8-yard run.

“It was a nice, quiet clean game, great sportsmanship,” Loureiro said.

Escalon had 12 first downs on the night to Riverbank’s six and had 38 rushing plays for 225 yards, Riverbank had 32 carries for 66 yards. Passing, Escalon was 4-for-8 for 142 yards and one interception. Riverbank completed 5-of-12 passes for 108 yards and one interception. Total yards saw the Cougars roll up 367 and Riverbank had 174. Neither team fumbled and there were just three penalties, Escalon had one penalty for 10 yards, Riverbank had two for 10.

Now, Escalon will come home for its Senior Night and a key match-up with Ripon, which is in a must win situation to make the postseason. The Indians lost to Modesto Christian and are 2-1 in league so they will be looking to hand Escalon (3-0) its first league loss. The Cougars plan to bring their best game to the field.

“Ripon is 3-5 overall, 2-1 in league and they by far played the toughest preseason schedule, four of their losses are to undefeated teams or teams that are in first place in their league,” Loureiro said. “This will be a huge test for us.”

Junior Nick Price leads the Indians to the line, the quarterback coming in at 5-10, 175 pounds and his key weapons include junior running back Jacob Duxbury (5-7, 155) and senior running back Ryan Fugit (5-9, 155). Top linemen are junior Matt Ysit (5-8, 160), senior Harrison Salvador (5-11, 240), and senior Robert Taylor (6-2, 220). Primary receiver for the Indians is Mario Roach, a 5-7, 155 pound senior.

Coach is Chris Johnson and the Indians come in needing the win to assure they continue to play after the league season wraps up in early November.

“This is a big game for us, Ripon got beat by Modesto Christian and surprisingly, they had three turnovers, very uncharacteristic,” Loureiro said. “They also have had some kids hurt that they should be getting back for this game.”

Escalon will have to be focused and ready to go, but will also recognize the senior players, cheerleaders and parents prior to the start of the varsity contest.