Smoke and mirrors – that’s how Coach Rusty Fachner described the three wins this week by the Escalon High School boy’s golf team. By using “smoke and mirrors” the upstart Cougar linksters moved to 10-2 on the season and 5-1 in Trans-Valley League play, good enough to put them in a tie for first place.
“It was a rugged week, but somehow, some way, we came out on top in all three matches,” Fachner commented. “We didn't play very well, but other teams didn’t either. It was a weird week.”
Escalon began the week by playing Modesto Christian, which failed to have enough golfers and had to forfeit to the Cougars. The match was still played, and Escalon shot 240 as a team.
“It wasn’t a good team score,” Fachner noted, “but in all fairness to our players, with the forfeit, we were able to experiment a little in how to play Oakdale Golf and Country Club. We found out some things that will help us in the future.”
Against MC, Zack Gardner shot 42 to lead the way. He was followed by Tim Wallace’s 44, a 48 by Nolan Rockwell and Brad DaDalt’s 52. Brandon Levin came in at 54 and Nathan Sarkozy finished with a 55. Fachner was quick to note that the one real positive thing that came out of the match was the play of Brad DaDalt, who was playing in his first varsity match.
“I thought Brad did some really nice things and played pretty well. Hopefully he will get even more comfortable as time goes on,” Fachner added.
The following day the Cougars traveled to La Contenta to take on Calaveras in a non-league tilt. Escalon walked away with a narrow 239-241 victory. This time it was Wallace who led the way for the Purple and Gold shooting a team-low 39. He was followed by Rockwell at 46, Gardner at 50, and DaDalt and Sarkozy with identical 52’s. Levin finished the scoring with a 53.
“It was Timmy's day, and I couldn’t be happier for him. He basically won this match for us with his low score. All season, he’s played very consistently and has kind of flown ‘under the radar.’ Against Calaveras, it was his day to shine,” noted Fachner.
In the biggest match of the week, the Cougars made their way to Turlock CC to play first-place, and undefeated, Hughson. Escalon took advantage of some high scores by the Huskies to upset them, 254-277, and take a share of first place in the TVL.
“The conditions were difficult, as the scores indicate. I was really pleased with Nolan Rockwell. He really came through for us when it was needed. His taking medalist honors on the day was the key to our winning,” said Fachner.
Rockwell finished the day at 46 while both Wallace and Gardner followed him with 47’s. The Cougars’ two freshmen, Sarkozy and DaDalt, came in at 57 and Levin finished with a 58.
“It wasn’t pretty, but we’ll take it. Sometimes a successful season hinges on ‘winning ugly’ and we certainly did that. Hopefully, in the next couple of weeks, we’ll get back on track and start playing Cougar golf once again,” Fachner concluded.