Their final game of the season went in the win column for the youngest Escalon Cougars; the freshmen defeated visiting Hughson 28-18 on Thursday night, Nov. 2.
“We took the ball on the opening drive and marched 70 yards with a one, two punch of running backs Aidan Krieger and Cristian Serrano,” said coach Mark Walden. “The drive was capped by a five-yard touchdown run by Jaden Fontes. Miguel Sandoval’s kick was good, making it 7-0.”
The young Cougars forced Hughson to punt on their ensuing possession and then Escalon went right back to the one, two punch of Krieger and Serrano.
“The two backs took turns ripping off eight- to 10-yard runs all the way down the field until Krieger punched it in from about 15 yards out,” Walden explained. “After another Sandoval kick, we took a 14-0 lead.”
Hughson broke free on a long scoring run but missed the extra point making it 14-6. Escalon took the ball on the ensuing kick and continued to have success running the ball as Serrano scored on a 20-yard run, the extra point by Sandoval was good, making it 21-6.
With 35 seconds left in the first half, Hughson scored on a halfback pass, but missed the extra point, making it 21-12 at halftime.
Hughson received the kick off to start the second half and drove the ball to the Escalon 5-yard line; the Escalon defense held tough and stopped Hughson, taking possession of the ball at their own 5-yard line.
“After some back and forth action Hughson would eventually break another long run and miss the extra point, making it 21-18.” Walden said. “After a failed on-side kick attempt Escalon fullback Jaden Fontes ripped through the middle of the defense for a 65-yard TD run.”
With the extra point the score was 28-18 Escalon. On Hughson’s final possession safety Justis Dutt intercepted a deep Hughson pass attempt, giving Escalon the ball back; from there they were able to run out the clock.
“It was good old fashioned Escalon football. Hughson clearly had a game plan to stop our fullback Fontes so we adjusted and our wings, Krieger and Serrano had a big first half running the ball,” said Walden. “When we started the second half they adjusted to stop our wings, which opened up the running for Fontes.”
The coach said the finale was a good game for plenty of players.
“None of our running game works without the guys up front, Nathan Miranda, Demetrius Teixeira, Chase Pacheco, Evan Foley, and Daniel Gonzalez all had a big game controlling the line of scrimmage and opening holes for the backs,” the coach noted. “Defensively, Nicholas Freeseha stood out as he made several key tackles for a loss at key times in the game.”
The freshmen finished their season with a record of 7-2.
“We had a lot of kids who had never played football before become major contributors this year,” Walden summarized. “It was a blast to watch them learn the game Escalon-style, bind together as a team, and have a lot of fun. It will be exciting to see these players combine with the sophomores on varsity in a couple years.”