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Road Victory Lifts JV Cougars To 4-0 Preseason Mark
JV Huddle
Head coach Andrew Beam, right, and assistant Joe Cowan go over strategy in the second half of Fridays road game against the Liberty Ranch Hawks in Galt. The young Cougars won by a 48-7 final. Marg Jackson/The Times

With a final of 48-7, the Escalon JV Cougars went on the road to Galt and took down the host Liberty Ranch Hawks on Friday night.

The game was unusual in that the host team ran significantly more plays than Escalon but managed just one score. Escalon scored in three of four quarters, with a running clock featured in the fourth quarter.

There was also a lengthy delay late in the third quarter when a Liberty Ranch player went down with an injury, was tended to on the field, and then was taken off on a stretcher.

“It was another weird game,” admitted head coach Andrew Beam. “We only ran 26 plays but had 394 yards; Liberty Ranch ran 46 plays and had just 128 yards.”

Escalon put 13 points on the board in the first quarter, 14 in the second and 21 in the third. Liberty Ranch scored their lone touchdown in the first quarter.

Beam said both teams scored their first touchdown quickly, lighting up the scoreboard early.

“Bryan Hale, on the first play from scrimmage, went 63 yards up the middle and the kick (by Ricky Erazo) was good to make it 7-0,” explained Beam. “Then we had a big letdown on the kickoff and they took it to the 2-yard line, then scored on the next play; 13 seconds in to the game it was 7-7.”

But after that, it was all Escalon, with the second touchdown of the night coming at the end of a 15-yard run from Miguel Souza, his first touchdown of the year. The point after attempt was no good but the JV Cougars had a 13-7 lead after one.

Two touchdowns in the second quarter came from Colton Panero, one on a 67-yard run and the other on a 50-yard touchdown pass from Kaidence Trejo, making his first start under center at the JV level. The point after was good on each, the Cougars leading 27-7 at the half.

Panero ran the Liberty Ranch defense ragged.

“He’s awfully tough to bring down in the open field,” Beam said. “He’s got strong legs, he’s really athletic.”

Third quarter scoring saw Panero find the end zone two more times, once on a 63-yard run and again on a 51-yard interception return for the pick six. Bryan Hale added an 18-yard touchdown run.

“Defensively, Trejo blocked a punt, Logan Webster, as a freshman had a good game for us, David Camacho and Omar Algaheim also had sacks.”

Despite the win and the lopsided offensive statistics, Beam said the team also made plenty of mistakes.

“We had 85 yards in penalties, we fumbled the ball,” he pointed out, adding that those types of miscues could prove costly as the JV team continues its schedule.

“It was a very good win but now the schedule will get tougher,” the coach said. “Patterson and Hilmar, our next two opponents, are a combined 7-0.”

Putting together what Beam said is “the best all-around game for a JV player” he has seen at Escalon, Panero had four carries for 159 yards, two receptions for 65 yards, a total of four touchdowns, one interception and nine tackles.

Hale had eight carries for 82 yards and a pair of scores. Trejo, in his first start at quarterback, completed three-of-five pass attempts for 81 yards and a touchdown.

Escalon returns to the road, traveling to Patterson for a 5 p.m. start on Friday, Sept. 22.

“We know they’ll be the fastest team we’ve seen,” Beam said.

The coach said the Tigers will also definitely be the most formidable foe the JV squad has taken on this season.

“I think the guys are ready for a challenge,” Beam said.