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Freshmen Take Road Win At Sonora
Following his blocker Evan Foley, 61, freshman football player Shane Campbell, 42, looks to make a significant gain during earlier season action. The freshmen finish the season hosting Hughson on Thursday night, Nov. 2. Marg Jackson/The Times

In a rare road trip, the Escalon freshman football team traveled to Sonora on Thursday night, Oct. 26. They came home with a satisfying 33-25 victory.

“They marched the ball down the field and scored on the opening drive, missed the PAT, taking a 6-0 lead and using up half of the first quarter,” explained head coach Mark Walden. “We received the kick off and fumbled on our first offensive play deep in our own territory. With Sonora threatening to go up by two scores, safety Justis Dutt came up with a big interception returning the ball back to Escalon.”

A couple plays later Cristian Serrano broke free on a 75-yard touchdown run down the left sideline. Escalon also missed their point after touchdown attempt, tying the game at 6-6.

Sonora had another long time-consuming scoring drive, but missed the PAT, taking a 12-6 lead in the middle of the second quarter.

“On the ensuing drive Escalon running back Shane Campbell scored on a 60-yard outside run to tie the game,” said Walden.

Escalon scored on a two-point conversion, taking a 14-12 lead into the half.

“Early in the third quarter we found ourselves in a fourth and one situation at our own 40-yard line,” Walden said. “We ran an off tackle running play to fullback Jaden Fontes, who broke a few tackles and turned the play into a 60-yard scoring run.”

Escalon missed the point after, making it 20-12 in the third quarter.

Sonora responded with what Walden termed “a very efficient” offense and drove the ball down the field again and scored. After a missed extra point, Sonora trimmed the freshman Cougar lead to 20-18.

After receiving the ball Escalon responded with a long slow scoring drive featuring a lot of tough inside running by Fontes, who eventually broke free again on a 20-yard TD run. Escalon was successful on the PAT, making it 27-18.

Not to be outdone, the host Sonora team again scored after another long drive and this time added a two-point conversion, making it 27-25 halfway through the fourth quarter.

Escalon received the ball and after a couple long runs by Serrano and Campbell, Fontes scored again. Because of the inconsistency of the Escalon kicking game on the day, Walden said they elected to go for the two-point conversion but were stopped, making it 33-25.

Sonora drove the ball down the field inside of the red zone and into scoring position. After a couple big stops by defensive tackles Ricky Heu and Chase Pacheco, Sonora found themselves in a fourth and 10 situation with only a couple minutes left in the game.

“Sonora threw a slant pass in the middle of the defense to what appeared to be an open receiver,” Walden noted. “Cornerback Cristian Serrano came out of nowhere and knocked the ball to the ground, ending Sonora’s last effort to score.”

Escalon took over on downs and was able to successfully run out the clock, securing the 33-25 win.

“It was a game with two evenly matched teams. Sonora was physical and well prepared,” Walden said. “It was a good test for our team and our young men responded well. In the first half we had a tough time running inside, Serrano and Campbell hurt them early with some long outside runs which loosened up their defense and allowed us to come back in the second half and really get our inside running game going.”

Defensively, the coach pointed to the efforts of Ricky Heu, Chase Pacheco and Aidan Krieger, noting they played particularly tough coming up with key stops when the team needed it the most.

The freshmen are scheduled to close out their season with a home game hosting Hughson on Thursday, Nov. 2 at 6 p.m.