Taking a 28-14 lead at the half, the Escalon JV Cougars could not stop the Ripon attack over the third and fourth quarters, falling in a crushing 29-28 final Friday night on the road.
“What really hurt us was that we only ran four plays in the third quarter for zero yards,” said head coach Andrew Beam. “This is the one that’s going to leave a bad taste in our mouth for 365 days.”
The teams traded touchdowns in the first quarter, Escalon took control with three touchdowns in the second quarter to Ripon’s one, controlling the contest and sitting with the 28-14 edge halfway through.
“In the first quarter we had 17 rushing attempts, they had one,” Beam said. “We were dominating the line of scrimmage and were much more physical.”
Cougar touchdowns included a 1-yard plunge by Luke Anderson at the end of a 12-play drive, and a 10-yard run by Kaidence Trejo. Ripon countered with a 58-yard run, kick good, to trim the lead to 14-7 and then Bryan Hale found the end zone on a 35-yard run to make it 21-7. Ricky Erazo added the point after kick each time for Escalon.
Ripon scored quickly to make it 21-14 and the JV Cougars pulled off a successful hook-and-ladder play to hit pay dirt from 36 yards out for a 28-14 edge at the half. Wyatt McCune tossed to Eli Lattig who got the ball to Trejo.
Then came the third quarter, with Escalon’s offense barely on the field and Ripon scoring to trim the lead to 28-21. In the fourth, the Cougars went on a long drive and appeared poised for the score to go up by a pair of touchdowns but fumbled the ball away at the 10-yard line.
“They marched down the field, got the touchdown,” Beam said of Ripon capitalizing on the turnover. “They went for the 2-point conversion to get the win and their quarterback made a great throw and their guy in the end zone just made the play.”
Trailing 29-28, the JV team had the chance for a couple of plays as the clock wound down but took the loss.
“It was hard to swallow, hard to take,” admitted Beam.
Hale paced the offensive effort with 17 carries for 132 yards.
“We had 170 yards rushing in the first half, our offensive line did a good job,” Beam added. “But it doesn’t get any easier; Modesto Christian and Hughson are both very good teams.”
The JV team is now 1-2 in league play and is scheduled to host MC this Friday night, Oct. 27. The Crusaders, however, had to forfeit their Oct. 20 game due to lack of players and Beam said it could be as late as Thursday, Oct. 26 until they know if they will have a game this week.
They will host Hughson in the season finale on Friday, Nov. 3.
“We want to play,” Beam said. “We want to get this sick taste out of our mouth.”