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Shutout Homecoming Win For JV Cougar Football
Hoping to make some headway up the field, Colton Panero, 2, looks for a running lane in second half play against the visiting Patterson ties on Friday night. Marg Jackson/the Times

A 35-0 final score saw Escalon’s JV football team complete their preseason slate with a perfect 5-0 mark. They upended visiting Patterson on Friday night, Sept. 23 to kick off the evening’s Homecoming festivities.

Escalon scored in every quarter of the game while keeping the Tigers from ever reaching the end zone.

“I think this year, we can throw the ball as well as run it,” said head coach Andrew Beam of being able to attack offensively in a variety of ways.

This week, the JV squad had 231 yards rushing and just 31 passing, whereas some games this season have been just the opposite.

“We can hurt teams both on the ground and through the air,” he added.

Single touchdowns in the first, second and fourth quarters and two scores in the third kept the JV Cougars on the winning track.

“Jordan Gwartney had 16 carries for 113 yards and two touchdowns, Frank Leal had eight carries for 58 yards and a pick six he returned for a touchdown, Kaden Christensen had eight carries for 54 yards and a touchdown,” Beam said. “Alexis Jimenez had a 9-yard reception for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.”

While the JV offense was running smoothly, just as important was the effort on the other side of the ball.

“Our defense was outstanding,” agreed Beam. “We held them to less than 100 yards rushing and we had only two penalties this week.”

Gwartney got the Cougars on the board with a 1-yard touchdown plunge in the first quarter and added another from the same distance in the second. Guillermo Alvarez tacked on all the extra points on the night.

Leal’s interception, which he returned 19 yards for the score, came in the third quarter and Christensen’s rushing touchdown came in that frame as well. Jimenez had the final touchdown, on the pass from Lucca Dutra, in the fourth.

“Our middle linebackers, Nash Satnat and Ethan Krieger, had their best games and Jacob Walden also had a great game for us,” Beam said. “Dutra was 2-of-9 for 31 yards and a touchdown.”

The two pass completions are lower than normal, but Beam said receivers dropped a couple that should have been caught, so it was still a solid game for Dutra under center.

“I think it was our best all-around game that we’ve had this year,” said Beam.

The win puts the JV team at 5-0 during their preseason, defeating Enochs, Calaveras, Liberty Ranch, Liberty High and Patterson.

“Hilmar is 5-0, Ripon and Modesto Christian are both 4-1,” Beam pointed out of other TVL teams seeing success in the preseason.

Even with their unblemished record, Beam said he knows his squad hasn’t seen its toughest competition yet.

“Every team we play from now on, in my opinion, will be better than any we’ve already played,” he said. “This team has a lot of potential … it’s nice to get guys off their feet for a little bit and get some rest before league.”

Escalon will host Hilmar in the Trans-Valley League opener on Friday, Oct. 7 with kickoff at 5:30 p.m.