Zeroing in on an undefeated season, the Escalon JV Cougars football team made it nine in a row with a Friday night win at Modesto Christian.
The final was 24-0; the JV boys holding the Crusaders to a mere five total yards of offense on the night.
“They had minus four yards rushing, they had two first downs on the night, we had 15,” said head coach Andrew Beam. “We had a 15-play, 75-yard opening drive to score the first touchdown.”
Escalon had the one touchdown in the first quarter, a field goal in the third quarter and two more scores to put the game away in the fourth quarter.
“It was a game we dominated at the line of scrimmage,” Beam explained. “Once again our defense was outstanding, this was our fifth shutout; Coach Cowan and Coach Scott have done a lot of work with that unit this year.”
Jordan Gwartney scored from 5 yards out for the first quarter touchdown, capping the long drive. Escalon was kept out of the end zone in the second quarter.
“We had some penalties and a dropped pass that would have been a touchdown,” noted Beam.
The one score in the first quarter gave the Cougars a slim 7-0 lead at the half.
“For me, the turning point in the game was a Jonathan Valeriano 43-yard field goal in the third quarter to make it a two-score game,” Beam said. “That was his longest one of the season, it hit the crossbar and bounced in, that was big for us.”
After taking the 10-0 lead, Escalon was able to punch two more scores through in the final quarter, keeping Modesto Christian off the board and throttling their offensive attack.
“Kaden Christensen had an interception that led to a score,” Beam said, adding that the fourth quarter touchdowns came from Nash Satnat from 10 yards out and Colton Panero from a yard out. “We had 293 total yards to their five.”
Damien Tom (3), Ethan Krieger (2) and Satnat (1) added sacks as the defense kept the host JV Crusaders under control.
Offensively, Gwartney was the workhorse for the JV team, carrying the ball 19 times for 147 yards and a touchdown.
“Five other runners had three to five carries each,” Beam said of spreading the rest of the work around.
Heading into the contest, Beam said his Cougars were aware of the Crusaders’ ability to put some points on the board, having compiled a 6-2 mark in their prior games. But the Escalon JV defense did what it has all season; shut other teams down.
Now, they look to put an exclamation point on the campaign during their road trip to Hughson on Nov. 4.
If they win, they earn the Trans-Valley League championship outright and complete an undefeated 10-0 season.
“There’s plenty of motivation to get that win on Friday night,” Beam said.
A longstanding TVL rivalry, host Hughson would like nothing better than to put the one blemish on Escalon’s record. The Huskies are 1-3 in league, coming off a hard fought 7-0 loss to Ripon so they will be eager to close out their season at home with a win. Beam, his assistant coaches and players will do their best to get that final win for the Cougars.
“We have to come to play,” said Beam.
Kickoff in Hughson will be 5:30 p.m. Friday.