A game on the road at Modesto Christian on Friday night saw the JV Cougars come home with a football win in hand, while the freshmen battled but fell at home on Thursday.
Escalon’s JV team took down the Crusaders on Sept. 28, winning by a final of 31-20, taking a 17-6 lead at the half.
It was a hard fought contest through all four quarters, said coach Brant Rose.
“We knew we were in for a tough game,” Rose said. “They only have 16 on their roster but we have a small team too, we only suit up 23.”
The coach said MC is deceiving, with the small numbers leaving teams wondering how they can compete at a high level for four quarters.
“That was one of the toughest, most physical teams we’ve faced all year,” Rose pointed out, with the Crusaders fighting to the end.
Escalon got an early cushion with a 60-yard run for a touchdown by Jaden Fontes on the JV team’s first play from scrimmage and Miguel Sandoval added the point after. Modesto Christian got the touchdown back but missed the extra point, Escalon leading 7-6 after the first quarter.
In the second quarter, quarterback Ty Harris connected with Eli Lattig on a 15-yard pass play; kick good and late in the second, Sandoval sent a 28-yard field goal through the uprights to give Escalon a 17-6 lead halfway through.
“The opening kickoff of the second half, they return it 90 yards for the touchdown to get right back in the game,” Rose said of Modesto Christian trimming the lead to 17-13. “The second half seemed like it was just trading scores.”
Escalon countered in the third quarter with a four-yard plunge from JP Lial, kick by Sandoval for a 24-13 edge.
Another MC score again cut the deficit and the Cougar JV team had a tenuous 24-20 lead in the fourth quarter.
“Our last score came on a third down conversion, it was a broken pass play,” Rose explained. “Our quarterback Ty Harris scrambled, he was running all over the field and he went 65 yards for the touchdown.”
The point after made it 31-20 and from there, the Cougar defense took over and didn’t allow Modesto Christian to get back in the end zone.
“It was hard to get them off the field,” Rose admitted of the MC offense. “They ran 41 plays, three more plays than us and their offense was moving the ball; our defense had to battle.”
The JV squad did battle, coming away with a big win on the road, getting their first Trans-Valley League victory of the season to even their league mark at 1-1. They are now 5-1 overall.
“Ty Harris had a big game for us, with the touchdown pass, and then that scramble that turned into a huge play that got the sealing touchdown we needed,” Rose said. “Jaden Fontes also had 120 yards on eight carries.”
The JV squad does not have a league game this week, as Riverbank has folded its junior varsity team.
“It’s basically another bye week,” said Rose, noting that the team will get prepared for their next TVL opponent, hosting Ripon on Friday, Oct. 12 as part of the Homecoming Week festivities.
Down 14-0 at the half against visiting Sierra, the Escalon freshmen took a 40-0 loss on Thursday, Sept. 27.
“It was a better overall effort and the kids have a better understanding of the game,” said head coach Joey Costa.
The Timberwolves took advantage of some good luck and a couple of opportune bounces to pounce on the young Cougars, getting a score right before the half on a 90-yard run after it looked like Escalon would get into the end zone.
“Caden Gonzales had a good game defensively and Austin Roberts has been our defensive leader,” Costa said.
Cameron Cox played well on the offensive side while quarterback Josh Miller also turned in another solid effort.
The freshmen welcome Ripon to Engel Field on Thursday, Oct. 11 for a 6 p.m. game.