It all comes down to this.
Hoping to salvage something out of their season, the Escalon varsity Cougars will look to take down traditional Trans-Valley League rival Hughson as they travel for the season finale on Friday night.
Both the Cougars and the Huskies come in to the contest with identical 1-3 marks in league play, both of them are out of the playoffs. Each is coming off a loss, Hughson shut out by Ripon 34-0 and the Cougars falling just short, 33-32, on the road at Modesto Christian.
“It’s always a great game,” Escalon head coach Mark Loureiro said of facing the Huskies, regardless of where the teams are in terms of wins and losses. The rivalry has been going on for years and each team will have the added incentive of wanting that victory in the final game of the year.
The Huskies are under the direction of first-year head coach, former player Vince Brown. They are 4-5 overall but have had a tough go of it in league play, losing to Hilmar, Ripon and Modesto Christian, the same as Escalon.
Key players include running back Griffin Genzoli, cornerback/receiver Josh Duron, fullback/linebacker Bryce Gonzalez, and running back/linebacker Cameron Ellack.
And while there will be no trip to the postseason for this year’s Cougars, coach Loureiro said that doesn’t diminish the importance of Friday night’s season finale.
“I think it’s real big, we need to go out and prove to ourselves that we are a good football team,” said the coach.
Cougar losses in league play have been incredibly tough, with a hard fought game against Hilmar without a couple of key starters, a game they gave away to Ripon with too many fumbles, and a game that slipped away at Modesto Christian, the Crusaders roaring back with 26 fourth quarter points.
If the Cougars had gotten any one of those teams, they would be heading to the postseason but Loureiro said they have to be content now with defeating Hughson, spoiling the Huskies’ Senior Night and taking a positive off the field in the finale.
Kickoff will be about 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4.