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Road Trip To Ceres Kicks Off Gridiron Competition
Escalon football squads got their first taste of hitting the line of scrimmage with all cylinders firing on Saturday, traveling to Ceres for a scrimmage.

All three teams got on the field, kicked off by the varsity and then with the JV and freshmen also getting in some playing time.

"We looked good," said varsity head coach Mark Loureiro, "but part of that was because our opponent wasn't very good. We still have a lot of things to do."

Overall, said Loureiro, coaches were pleased with what they saw offensively but he said it was difficult to gauge the effectiveness of the varsity defense.

"They passed every time," he explained of Ceres. "I was hoping we'd have a bit more of a physical contest."

While the players had the chance to face off with someone else on the gridiron during the Saturday scrimmage, Loureiro said it didn't do much to prepare them for the tough task ahead. They will take the field on Friday night in Los Banos for their first official preseason contest of the 2012 campaign.

"The JV starts at 5:30 p.m. and the varsity goes right after," Loureiro said. "This is going to be a big test, this will be one of the best teams we face this season.

"We're in deep with this first game."

The freshmen, meanwhile, will suit up for another scrimmage this week. They travel to Central Catholic for a 6 p.m. session on Thursday, Aug. 23.

Football players will also be busy this week with pre-sales for the Cougar Gold Card, which features a variety of discounts and specials from local merchants. The cost is $10 and pre-sales will be done, along with a Tuesday night 'blitz' on Aug. 28, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., with football players going door to door to sell the discount cards.

"This card pays for itself within a week," said Loureiro. "And this year it's a super important fundraiser for us."

With cutbacks in sports funding, the football team is looking to sell as many cards as possible, with the team getting an estimated 60 percent of the proceeds from the sale of the $10 cards back for the sports programs.

"Many, many of our local businesses take part," Loureiro said of getting discounts and specials at restaurants, stores, merchants and more.

"All three of the football teams will sell them," he said.

For more information, contact Loureiro at Escalon High, 838-7073.

Football is just one of the fall sports that has been busy since Aug. 6 with practices. Girls golf, volleyball, boys soccer, and cross country are the other fall sports offered at Escalon, with all getting ready for pre-season action prior to the start of the Trans-Valley League campaign.