An early score turned out to be all they needed … but Escalon’s JV boys added a couple of late touchdowns as well, shutting out Hilmar 20-0 on the road Friday night.
“It was a hard game,” admitted coach Andrew Beam. “We got lucky early.”
A blocked Hilmar punt by Cole Gilbert set up the JV Cougar scoring drive, as they converted two plays later on a 17-yard pass from Steven Grossi to Tanner McCrary for the touchdown. The point after by Rodrigo DeMelo made it 7-0 Escalon before the crowd had a chance to settle in.
“For the next two-and-a-half quarters it was really just about field position,” Beam said of the game, which was more like a heavyweight fight, both teams slogging through.
“We had four turnovers, very uncharacteristic of us, we had two interceptions and two fumbles, we played sloppy,” added Beam of the offensive attack.
But the defense was up to the challenge and held the host Yellowjackets to 145 total yards on the night, keeping them out of the end zone.
“We had 311 total yards so we dominated the line of scrimmage,” explained Beam.
The first quarter touchdown was the only one for the first three quarters of the game, then Escalon was able to break through for two more in the final frame.
“Elliot Mello had a great run, he went 71 yards right up the gut and ran away from those guys,” Beam said of Mello outdistancing the defense. “Then we got a turnover on downs and Rex Robbins had a real nice 27-yard touchdown run, that pretty much ended everything, it took the wind out of their (Hilmar’s) sails.”
Singled out for solid play up front were Cole Gilbert, Jake Lewis, Paul Ayala and Cuyler Crawford.
“Our secondary also had some big hits and an interception; we got good play out of Hugo Alcala, Lucciano Dutra and Nick DeWeerd. They played great covering the receivers and DeWeerd had the interception.”
Offensively, quarterback Grossi was 7-for-11 with 64 yards. Rushing, Mello had 11 carries for 99 yards, Robbins had five for 67 and Alcala had six carries for 41 yards and caught three passes for 23 yards.
Improving to 2-0 in league with the win, Escalon now comes home to host 0-2 Mountain House this Friday, Oct. 23.
“In watching films, they definitely have a lot of athletes,” noted Beam. “It should be another good game. Our size up front should help.”
Beam said the goal is to keep them out of the end zone, tire them out, and once again dominate the line of scrimmage.
The JV team is looking to keep their Trans-Valley League record spotless.
“Hopefully that sets up a showdown with Ripon,” said Beam, with both teams now 2-0 and aiming for the same 3-0 records when they face off at Ripon on Oct. 30.