Friday night’s home football game against the rival Hilmar Yellowjackets has many implications.
Not the least of which is the potential for a record-setting evening for Escalon varsity head coach Mark Loureiro.
With a road win to open the Trans-Valley League campaign on Oct. 10 at Hughson, Loureiro tied the Sac-Joaquin Section mark of 261 wins and could take over sole possession of first place with a home victory over Hilmar. The 261 wins in his 25 years of coaching have tied Loureiro with Max Miller, who has coached at Cordova and Rio Americano with a total of 261 wins, 103 losses and four ties. Loureiro is now 261-51-1 with the chance of record-setting win number 262 coming this Friday at home.
It sets up nicely for the Cougars, who would like nothing better than to get the victory for their coach at Engel Field, in front of a supportive hometown crowd.
“We’re coming home against Hilmar, they are 2-4 and they played a tough non-league schedule,” Loureiro explained. “They didn’t play well against Ripon (lost 49-21 to the Indians in the league opener on Oct. 10) and they’ve got to have this game, this has playoff implications.”
The Yellowjackets, for their part, would like nothing more than to spoil the party and get themselves back into the playoff picture, while a win for the Cougars would be their fifth of the season, leaving them with just one more win to get over the final three weeks of the league campaign to assure themselves a postseason berth.
“It would be nice to get it here at home,” Loureiro admitted of nailing down the Section victory record. “But it’s also a win here that gets us to that fifth win so this is a big game, league wise for us as well.”
Hilmar has had the Cougars’ number the last couple of seasons, including knocking them out of the playoffs in the second round last year.
“It would be nice to get a little built of payback,” Loureiro agreed.
Yellowjackets head coach Frank Marques will bring his players in prepared, Loureiro said, and that includes returning All-TVL quarterback Jonathan O’Brien, 6-1, 195; leading receiver Hudson Harris, 6-2, 170; and top running back Daniel Teixeira, 5-11, 175.
Kickoff on Friday night will be about 7:30 p.m. following the conclusion of the JV game.