Earning a 20-2 win, the Escalon JV football team learned they have quite a weapon this year.
The team ran out to a 14-0 lead by halftime and allowed just a safety to the host Patterson Tigers team on Friday night, tacking on one more fourth quarter score to leave the field with a victory to start the season.
“Just our energy,” head coach Andrew Beam said of what really made the difference for his squad. “We were more physical up front and our team is really fast this year, that’s a bonus, this is one of the fastest teams we’ve had in a while.”
Strong, physical play from the front line of Eduardo Marrufo, Trent Cummings, Stephen Mendez, Paul Ayala and Cuyler Crawford helped set the tone.
Mark DeHaven was a workhorse for the JV team, carrying the ball 14 times for 94 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
“He had a really good day,” Beam agreed.
Both of DeHaven’s touchdowns came at the end of 2-yard runs, one in the first quarter and one in the fourth quarter. Also scoring for Escalon was Jacob Lewis, who ran one in from 9 yards out in the second quarter. Rodrigo DeMelo connected on two of the three extra-point attempts.
The only blemish in the game was a third quarter safety that saw the lead trimmed to 14-2, but the JV Cougars were never really challenged.
“Defensively, Elliot Mello led us with nine tackles and a quarterback sack, Lucciano Dutra played well at safety, he had an interception and broke up a couple of pass plays,” noted Beam. “Jacob Lewis had seven tackles and a sack.”
Quarterback Steven Grossi completed three of five pass attempts for 64 yards, with Max Nicholas pulling down all three completions.
“We were so young last year,” Beam added of having a half-dozen freshmen in the starting line-up last season. “That year of experience on Friday night really helped us.”
The JV Cougars seemed more comfortable on the field, even if it should have been ‘home turf’ advantage for the Tigers.
And both teams had to endure game time temperatures on the turf that soared well past 100 degrees for the 5 p.m. kickoff.
“It was miserable, hot, about 115 degrees on the field to start the game,” Beam said. “But our guys didn’t quit; we were able to break them.”
This week, the JV Cougars will be at home to host Calaveras in a game at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 4.