The varsity Escalon Outlaws had to swallow a loss to their perennial rival Ripon Chiefs 42-14 in the Mother Lode Valley Football League season finale and get ready to meet again in the first round of the playoffs. Adjustments would have to be made on both sides of the ball to exact revenge and extend their season.
Escalon would win the coin toss and elect to receive the opening kick-off. The offense would sputter punting the ball away after three plays. It did not take Ripon long to score after taking possession. The Chiefs’ halfback would race around the left end outdistancing the Outlaws’ defense on a 95-yard run into the Escalon end zone. The point after kick would split the uprights giving Ripon a 7-0 lead. Ripon would get another opportunity after an unfortunate bounce on an onside kick gave possession back to the Chiefs on their own 48-yard line. The defense would stand tall with tackles for loss by Donovan Rozevink and Tate Christensen to force fourth down. Owen Nash would leap to intercept a pass intended for a Chiefs’ receiver who had run past the Escalon pass defense.
The Outlaws would again punt the ball away after three plays. Ripon would score again after a bruising physical running attack at the heart of the Outlaws’ defense. The point after kick would miss wide left but still extended the lead to 13-0. Ripon would turn the ball over on downs on their next possession that carried into Escalon territory. The Outlaws were facing another fourth down after just three plays deep in their own territory. The Outlaws lined up to punt and this time it was a fake. Matthew Baptista connected on a pass with a wide open Rozevink who was able to beat the pursuing Chiefs into their end zone. The point after kick by Jacob Martin was successful closing the score to 13-7. Escalon had one more try with the football before the halftime intermission. Rozevink would find Nash behind the defensive secondary for a 35-yard completion to the Ripon 5-yard line, but time ran out before the Outlaws could run another play.
Ripon would open the second half of play with the football. Their drive would stall on the Outlaws’ 21-yard line. Ripon’s drive was halted by tackles for loss by Logan Anderson, Luis Velarde and Christensen. The Chiefs would try a field goal attempt from 31 yards but it went wide of the uprights giving possession over to the Outlaws. Despite plays eating up large chunks of yardage by Baptista, Escalon would turn the ball over on downs in Ripon territory.
Escalon forced a punt after tackles for loss by Rozevink and Ayden Wilson. Rozevink would link up with Nash again this time with plenty of time on the clock. Nash would outrun the Chiefs’ defense for a 42-yard touchdown pass. The point after kick would swing wide left of the goal post leaving the score tied 13-13.
Regulation game time would expire sending this match up into overtime. In overtime each team would alternate possession from the 25-yard line until the score was no longer tied. Ripon would score on their first overtime attempt on a sweep around the right of the offensive line. Ripon would elect to go for the 2-point conversion, but the pass would fall incomplete making the score 19-13. Escalon would answer with a 2-yard quarterback sneak by Rozevink. Baptista was able to boot the point after kick through the uprights giving Escalon the 20-19 victory.
Escalon will move on to the next round of the MVFL playoffs to be played at a neutral site.
The JV Outlaws were up against the Tuolumne Bears in their Mother Lode Valley Football League opening round playoff game. These two teams met in Week 1 of the season. Escalon would be victorious that day 19-6. After the first week meeting there was plenty of time for both teams to improve.
The game would turn out to be a defensive slugfest. Neither team had a chance to gain any offensive momentum. Escalon would have the first possession but fumbled it away on their second play from scrimmage. The Escalon defense would force a punt from the Bears. The Bears’ punt would roll and be downed inside the Escalon 1-yard line. The Outlaws could not get out from under the shadow of their own goal post and were forced to punt. A mishandled snap from the center ended in a loose ball in the Escalon end zone where Tuolumne recovered the fumble. The point after touchdown conversion was not successful opening the score at 6-0.
Anthony Jones reached up to intercept a Tuolumne pass intended for a receiver who had found themselves behind the Escalon defense but they later fumbled this opportunity away. Jamin Miller made his presence felt on the defensive side of the football with tackles ranging from sideline to sideline.
The Outlaws had trouble starting their offense until the first drive of the second half of play. Tough running by Miller, Ruben Moreno and Ryan Lewis steadily moved the ball toward the Tuolumne end zone only to run out of time before the task could be completed. The drive stalled on the Bears’ 2-yard line. After the initial drive of the third quarter the game was played mostly on the Tuolumne side of the 50-yard line, but Escalon could not punch through on the scoreboard. The final score would read 6-0 Tuolumne bringing an end to the JV season.
The Novice Escalon Outlaws had a tall order to fill meeting up again with the Amador Jr. Buffaloes. These two teams met in Week 3 of the season where Escalon fell 43-0.
The scoreboard would not hold much better news for the Outlaws Saturday, either, as the team fell 19-0.
The offense could not gain any traction against the staunch Amador defense. The yards that were gained were tough to say the least, but that did not stop the efforts of Ben Gonzalez and Kyrin Barajas.
Barajas pitched in on defense as well recovering a fumble in Outlaws’ territory stopping a scoring threat and giving Escalon a chance to score. Max Gonzalez, Preston Sizeula and Ethan Butler did their best to stem the tide of the Amador offensive pressure.
Each of the young Outlaws should be proud of their efforts this season. Years such as these are building blocks for the years of football to come.
The youngest of the Escalon Outlaws faced off against the Central Valley 49ers in their first round playoff match up. These two teams met in Week 5 of the season. Escalon fell that day in a hotly contested game 3-2. This game would be no different.
Central Valley would score on their opening possession, but Ian Trejo would tie the score racing around the right end. The 49ers would take advantage of an Outlaws mistake and tally two scores posting a 3-1 lead. Escalon would narrow the lead to 4-3 before the halftime intermission with two more scores. Trejo would run one score in and find an open Allie Fiser behind the defense for another through the air. Defensive efforts by Benett Guevara and Trejo helped to keep the score within striking distance.
Trejo would score again to tie the score 4-4 on the first possession of the second half. Trejo would score one more time, but Central Valley would score twice making the score 6-5. Escalon had one more chance taking possession with 1:57 on the game clock but would run out of time.
The offensive line played well providing running lanes and opportunity for Trejo to excel. Frank Carter-Castro, Jacob Garza, Steven Fenton, Josue Plascencia and Bryann Zuniga all had a hand in Trejo’s success and should be proud of their efforts.