Taking the lead with a field goal, Escalon would not find a way to score again and were handed a lopsided 35-3 loss on the road Friday night.
The undefeated Ripon Indians kept their streak alive and made a statement that they are looking to retain the Trans-Valley League title, effectively shutting down the Cougars.
“We just got outplayed,” head coach Mark Loureiro said. “They dominated our offensive line throughout the night, they took away a lot of things we tried to do offensively.”
Loureiro said he felt his defense played well, but were on the field for much too long.
“We jumped out to 3-0 to start the game but they went up 7-3 just before half,” the coach noted. “We fumbled in our first possession of the second half.”
Other Cougars miscues were a fumble on the 5-yard line and an interception, both of which resulted in points for the host team.
Loureiro said it seemed that every time the Cougars were on the verge of clicking, the Ripon defense made a big stop or forced a mistake.
“They took the wind right out of our sails,” he said.
Escalon had just 119 yards on the night on 49 yards rushing and 70 yards passing. Ripon had 246 total yards, with 70 through the air and 176 on the ground. Each team had a fumble and lost it, each team was penalized nine times for 70 yards.
Thomas Diniz put Escalon ahead with a 23-yard field goal, though the lead was short-lived.
“Our leading rusher was Frankie Bavaro, with 13 carries for 52 yards and we did get two catches from Brandon Grogan for 49 yards, that gave us a little shot in the arm,” said Loureiro, with Grogan just coming back from injury.
“Defensively, Lance Davis is playing hurt for us and he had eight tackles, Collin Strasser had seven, Javier Perez had a sack, Adam Roberson had six tackles and Grogan had a fumble recovery.”
The task doesn’t get any easier for the Cougars this week, as they host the undefeated rival Hughson Huskies for Homecoming on Friday night, Oct. 4 with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.
Hughson comes in at 5-0, fresh off a 49-20 romp over Summerville. The Huskies are coached by George Harp and feature plenty of team speed and a solid line.
Leading players are running back Tanner Duron, 5-9, 180 and running back/defensive back Kyle Kerlee, 6-0, 200. Quarterback Devondre Stendardo checks in at 6-0, 180 and top linemen are Adan Padilla, 5-10, 270; Santos Sandoval, 6-1, 230; and Jose Sandoval, 6-2, 260.
“We need to rebound,” Loureiro said of his team.