With a final of 41-21, Escalon’s JV boys closed out the football preseason on a winning note, topping host Patterson on Friday night, Sept. 22.
The victory lifted Escalon to a 5-0 mark for their preseason campaign and they have a bye this week, Sept. 29, with their next game on the road at Hilmar. They will travel to face the Yellowjackets in the Trans-Valley League opener on Friday, Oct. 6.
In action at Patterson, the JV Cougars scored in every quarter, holding a 19-7 lead at the half, increasing that to 34-14 after three quarters and then trading touchdowns with the host Tigers in the final frame.
“I’m happy, it was good-old fashioned Escalon football,” said head coach Andrew Beam. “We ran more plays than we have any game this season, we ran the football, we controlled the line of scrimmage.”
The offensive line was physical up front, Beam added, with solid work by Logan Webster, Garrett Cox, Roman Gonzalez, P.J. Flores and David Camacho, along with Mitchell Cole and Jacob Sizelove.
“Those seven guys did an outstanding job,” said Beam. “We had 16 rushing first downs on a total of 17 for the night.”
That just shows the big push the O line got on the Patterson defense, helping to open up the holes for runners to get through for the yards.
“We had 426 total yards, they had 153,” Beam noted.
The effort was that much more special because Patterson was one of the bigger teams the JV Cougars had seen, and came in undefeated in preseason play.
In the first quarter, Escalon got a 24-yard touchdown pass from Kaidence Trejo to Colton Panero for the score, Ricky Erazo followed with the point after for the early 7-0 Cougar lead.
Second quarter scoring saw a 37-yard run by Bryan Hale, kick failed and a six-yard run by Luke Anderson. The Cougars went for the two-point conversion but failed, but still stretched the lead to 19-0 as the first half wound down.
Patterson got on the board with just a few seconds left in the half, converting on a fourth down play for the touchdown, the pass completion coming with just four seconds to go. They added the kick to trail 19-7 headed to the locker room.
Beam said the late score did seem to revive the Tigers and Escalon looked to take that momentum away. They had to kick off to the home team to start the second half.
“We did a pooch sideline kick, Levi Hale recovered the onside kick and that took the momentum away, we got the energy back,” explained Beam, adding that Erazo did a good job on placement of the onside kick.
Utilizing most of the third quarter, the JV Cougars got a pair of scores in the frame. Bryan Hale scored from eight yards out and quarterback Trejo scored on a one-yard run. The JV boys converted on one point after attempt and Panero took in a two-point conversion. Patterson countered with one score.
In the final frame, the Tigers scored to trim the lead to 34-21 but Escalon answered back with their last touchdown of the night, coming on a five-yard run from Garrett Nash.
“Defensively, Panero had an interception, his second of the year, and seven tackles,” Beam said.
Webster also was in on several tackles.
On the offensive side, Bryan Hale had 15 carries for 116 yards and two touchdowns; Panero had nine carries for 106 yards and a score. Panero was also the leading receiver, three catches for 94 yards and a touchdown and also took in a two-point conversion on the night.
“Kaidence Trejo has settled in, really found his groove, he completed four-of-five passes for 99 yards and a touchdown,” Beam said of his young quarterback.
Now at 5-0, the JV team has a bye this week, Sept. 29, and then will be on the road for the league opener at Hilmar.
“That is going to be an unbelievable test, we’re both 5-0,” Beam said. “They are one of the best JV teams I’ve seen in a while and we find ourselves going in as the underdog.”
With no game this week, the JV boys will have extra time for healing bumps and bruises and getting ready for the battle with the Yellowjackets.
“Two weeks to rest and prepare,” said the coach. “We’ll need to give our best effort.”