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Varsity Gridders Run Over Mountain House
Quarterback Dylan Azevedo is under center as Luis Estrada, 1, goes in motion in Friday night action at Engel Field. Estrada was one of several Cougars to find the end zone in the lopsided victory. Marg Jackson/The Times


In a game where everybody got to get on the field, Escalon scored almost at will against visiting Mountain House on Friday night. The varsity football team ended the evening with a 69-14 victory in hand.

“We all needed a win for our confidence,” said head coach Mark Loureiro. “The kids, the coaches, the community.”

Escalon had dropped its first two Trans-Valley League contests – home against Hughson and on the road at Hilmar – and needed a win to at least have a chance of getting into the postseason. And while that still isn’t a certainty, putting a TVL game in the win column was definitely what the doctor ordered.

“We got six turnovers, so that helped,” Loureiro added. “Mountain House was defenseless most of the night.”

The coach said although he anticipated his team would be able to defeat the Mustangs, he wasn’t quite expecting the offensive onslaught that saw eight different players find the end zone.

“It was great to see those second and third unit guys get involved in the game and be so successful,” Loureiro said.

Players that normally see most of their weekly action in practice had the chance to line up in the game and made the most of it, said Loureiro.

Escalon had a 35-7 lead after one quarter, 56-7 at the half. A running clock limited Escalon to just two more scores in the second half, both coming in the third quarter, while Mountain House got their second touchdown of the night with about 30 seconds left in the game.

“Our top rushers were C.J. Gumbs, four carries for 115 yards and two touchdowns; Hunter Calton, five carries for 89 yards and two touchdowns and Julio Mendoza did a nice job, seven carries for 76 yards,” Loureiro said.

Scoring for Escalon in the first quarter were: Gumbs, 27-yard run; Logan Widmer, returning a fumble recovery 12 yards for the score; Tim Costa, 10-yard run; Calton, 13-yard run; Gumbs, 35-yard run.

Mountain House sandwiched in a 75-yard scoring play when they were down 14-0, briefly pulling within a touchdown at 14-7.

But from there it was all Cougars, as Calton went in on a 25-yard run in the second quarter, followed by Trenton Busch from five yards out and Luis Estrada on a one-yard plunge. David Martinez added the extra points on each to stake Escalon to a 56-7 halftime lead. Cougar touchdowns in the third quarter came on a 3-yard run from Tristen Hallam and Julio Mendoza went in from 13 yards out for the final score of the night. Martinez hit one of the final two point after attempts for the 69 point total. The Mustangs, fighting until the end, connected on a 10-yard pass play in the end zone for the final score of the night, leaving Escalon with the 69-14 win.

“Defensively, we had three interceptions, one from Tristen Hallam, one by Sam Lattig and a beautiful one off a deflection by Brandon Levin,” Loureiro said. “We also got fumble recoveries from Trenton Busch, Logan Widmer, returning it for the score, and Wyatt Cockrell got one.”

Daniel Gonzalez and Greg Artiaga added sacks, David Escove led in tackles with six and Widmer recorded five.

“I was also happy to see that second line unit in there doing well, Marco Mendoza, Justin Miranda, Jacob Alvarado, Brayden Pilcher and David Escove,” said Loureiro.

Senior Trenton Busch agreed it was a much-needed victory for the Cougars.

“It felt really good to stop a three-game losing streak,” he explained, adding that he also enjoyed seeing touchdowns and strong defense from players that don’t normally get the chance at significant playing time on Friday nights.

Among those second unit players was Greg Artiaga, who made an impact and had one of the team’s two sacks.

“It felt great,” Artiaga admitted, “to just work all year and finally get on the field. I think this win grew us together as a team, I think we bonded over it a lot more.”

Going in, the Cougars knew this was their game for the taking – and they knew the plan was to get everyone involved.

For Tristen Hallam, that meant the chance to pile up some rushing yards.

“It just felt great that I could really help the team other than just in practice,” Hallam, who scored his first touchdown of the season, explained. “Now it’s just don’t stop, we have to work hard for next week (against Ripon).”

For the game, Escalon had 16 first downs and Mountain House had six, while the Cougars rolled up 439 total yards of offense, Mountain House had 244. On 39 rushing plays, Escalon had 429 yards and quarterback Dylan Azevedo completed one-of-three pass attempts for 10 yards, pulled in by Sam Lattig. The Cougars fumbled once but recovered it and they were penalized four times for 25 yards.

Mountain House had 196 rushing yards on 30 plays, 48 passing yards on 5-of-10 completions with three interceptions. They lost three fumbles and had four penalties for 30 yards.

“It was a good win for us,” Loureiro added. “All the kids were successful.”