Scoring early – and often – the Escalon varsity Cougars were rude hosts to the Linden Lions on Friday, Sept. 13 – rolling to a 56-12 victory on the football field.
There was a running clock in the fourth quarter due to the scoring margin, and Escalon’s second unit on offense put up as many points as the first, each with four scores to their credit.
For head coach Mark Loureiro, that was the most satisfying thing, getting everyone involved in the action.
“We came out of it healthy and a lot of kids got better,” said Loureiro. “I was real happy for all the kids, they have been working hard and good teams make each other better in practice.”
The first unit was among the loudest cheerleaders for the second ‘O’ as they took the field and enjoyed watching them work well against the first defensive line of the Lions.
Escalon showed amazing consistency, with a pair of scores in each quarter, Thomas Diniz hitting every extra point. Linden didn’t get on the board until the start of the third quarter and, even then, it was a fumble recovery that got returned for a touchdown that gave them the six points. They added another touchdown late in the game, but the Cougars successfully blocked both point after attempts.
For the Cougars, touchdowns came from Josh Redding, 58-yard run and Christian May, pulling in a 67-yard pass from Ben Hood to go up 14-0 in the first quarter. Tyler Lawrence (10-yard run) and Jacob Salvador (35-yard pass reception from Hood) found the end zone in the second quarter. Third quarter scores came from Wesley Dick (34 yards) and A.J. Camarena (29 yards) with Travis Nascimento breaking through for the final two scores, on a 2-yard and 1-yard plunge in the fourth quarter.
“It felt great,” admitted Nascimento of contributing two scores. “We just have to work on getting better every day, get faster, stronger.”
Defensively, the Cougars were paced by Colin Strasser with eight tackles and Lance Davis with six.
“In our second group, Caleb Mullen had five tackles, Thomas Diniz had five,” Loureiro said.
Other highlights were a Christian May interception and the extra point attempt block by Javier Perez.
“Overall it was one of those great efforts,” Loureiro said.
Escalon rolled up 489 yards and offense and 14 first downs to 178 yards and eight first downs for Linden. The Cougars had 387 yards on 45 rushes and 102 yards through the air.
“Our next three games will be the toughest part of our schedule,” Loureiro said, noting that it was good to get the win over Linden but now the real work begins.
They start with a trip to Patterson to close out the preseason on Sept. 20 and kick off Trans-Valley League action on the road at Ripon on Sept. 27.
Patterson will be the designation for Friday night’s game, the Tigers flying high at 3-0 and coming off a 48-6 win over Davis.
“They have a highly explosive offense and their quarterback, Damien Paulo, is a junior that can hurt you with his arm and his legs,” Loureiro said. “He makes good decisions back there and we will have to work hard to contain him.”
Top receivers are Avion Warmsley, 6-1, 185 and Jordan Levu, 6-4, 190. Another major weapon is offensive/defensive tackle Jesse Nuia, 6-1, 240.
“This is a very good Patterson team, it will be a step up for us,” Loureiro said.
The JV game starts at 5 p.m. Friday, with the varsity following at about 7 p.m.
“It should be an exciting game,” said Loureiro.