All three youth football Cougar teams made the playoffs this year and recently hit the road for the long one hour and 45-minute drive up to El Dorado High School. It was the opening round and one Cougar team – the varsity – prevailed against their opponent to extend their season. Here is a recap of the games for the Novice, JV and Varsity squads.
The Novice squad played a tough Bret Harte Bullfrogs team. The two teams traded blows with a rushing touchdown by Alexander Murga for Escalon in the first quarter leaving a score of 7 to 7. Unfortunately, this would be the closest the game got as the final score would reflect Escalon falling to the Bullfrogs 33-7. Outstanding defense by Colton Faria with a fumble recovery and leading the team in tackles followed by Murga, Kaleb Butler, Matthew Fenton, Zander Alvarado and Waylon Morgan.
Dramatic game and dramatic finish. The Cougars took on a Calaveras Reds team looking to avenge a loss in the regular season delivered by the Cougars. Defense was the theme of the day as the game was scoreless up to the second quarter when Escalon scored on a 25-yard pass from Archer Sanders to Steven Fenton. Escalon failed to get into the end zone for the point after. Calaveras finally scored in the fourth quarter but their PAT was blocked by Jaxon DeGruy, to leave the game tied at 6-6. With the score tied and no time left on the scoreboard the game went into overtime. Calaveras started on offense first and scored on their second drive and converted on their extra point. Escalon got their chance on offense but the Calaveras defense stopped them and clinched the win. Leading the Cougar team in tackles were Lucas Trejo, Joey Calcagno, Noah Gonsalves followed by Ryker Lial, Dillon Simmons and Ty Caton.
The game started with fan favorite #97 Bracco Rissetto scoring a rushing touchdown on the opening drive of the game. Unfortunately, the points were unofficial and did not get tallied on the scoreboard. The Varsity squad took on a small in volume but big in size Tuolumne Bears team. It was another bout where defense would make the difference. Both teams were held scoreless until the fourth quarter when Tuolumne scored on a 16-yard field goal. With a minute left in the game, on the 45-yard line Ethan Butler – while being tackled – launched a pass ten yards short of the end zone to Dylan Ball, who broke two tackles for the touchdown. The crowd roared in excitement as the score gave Escalon the lead. A final offensive drive attempt by Tuolumne would end on an interception by Conner McDowell and leave the Cougars victorious. Defensively, McDowell led the team in tackles and had two interceptions, Ian Trejo followed in tackles and had an interception of his own. Oscar Lopez, Leo Serrano Marrufo, Noah Dooley, Damian Morales, Izaiah Rodriguez and Dylan Ball had outstanding performances on both sides of the ball. The Varsity Cougars will take on the Sonora Wildcats next in the playoffs, hoping to avenge a loss against them in the regular season.