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Reunion Offers 'Cougars For Life' Chance To Relive History
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The success of Escalon Coach Mark Loureiro and the 2010 CIF Division III State Championship Football Team was the inspiration for a group of 1963 Cougars to have a team meeting to honor 'Coach Lou' and his team, as well as to remember their own glory days. 

Oakdale Golf and Country Club was the setting for the dinner meting and reunion on Feb. 11, with many making the trip from around the country to reunite for the gathering.

Co-organizer Doug Oehrlein said Escalon High School football of 1963 won the Trans-Valley League Championship, defeating archrival Los Banos by a score of 2-0. What made this game significant to the team, he added, was the fact that Los Banos had dominated the league for many years and the Escalon team had suffered a 42-0 defeat the previous year. Los Banos was so dominant during this period that the 1963 season was their last in the Trans-Valley League before moving up to a larger league.

"What started as an idea for a few teammates to get together for dinner grew into a major event," admitted Oehrlein. "The 1963 team was coached by Coach (Lloyd) Engel and Coach Bob Loureiro, father of the current Coach Mark Loureiro. Al Caton, Assistant Coach of the 2010 State Champions was a player of the 1963 Trans-Valley League Champions."

There were 36 players on the 1963 roster and Caton worked with Oehrlein to organize the Feb. 11 team meeting. They expected a half dozen or more players, but were delighted to have 25 attend the event.

This was the first team meeting in 48 years and participants included: Craig Sandall, Jim Alfieri, Dennis Ulmer, John Garcia, Frank Middleton, Gary Gomes, Al Caton, Robert Imfeld, Jim Mattesich, Tom Mattesich, Tom Macsenti, Ron Davis, Paul Allen, Art Rossetti, Doug Oehrlein, Gino Farinelli, Ron Camariano, Joe Lombardi, Dave Ennis, Grant Thompson, Grant Smith, Phil Moyer, Gary Dornan, David Spurlock, Don Oehrlein, Coach Mark Loureiro and Coach Bob Loureiro.

Oehrlein offered opening remarks, thanking the team for the great turnout. Players came from Louisiana, Washington, Nevada and California. The response proved that the team members were Cougars, not former Cougars, and that 'Cougars for Life' is more than just a slogan.

Caton introduced the Guests of Honor, Bob Loureiro, Coach of the 1963 Championship team and Mark Loureiro, Coach of the 2010 State Championship team. The players updated the group on what they have been doing for the past 48 years and relived the memories of the 1963 season.  Coach Bob Loureiro presented 1963 All Star Awards to seven players that attended the meeting. 

Ennis said a few words honoring those who were a part of the 1963 team who have since passed away, including: Coach Engel, Al Rollins, Rickey Phillips, Phil Jones, Bob Lease, Steve Crutcher and Les Patterson.

Bob Loureiro, representing the 1963 Championship Team, presented a plaque to Coach Mark Loureiro and the 2010 State Champions, honoring them for their great season and for being the inspiration for bringing the 1963 team back together.