A Friday night game at Calaveras High School in San Andreas didn’t start out well for Escalon’s JV football team. But by the end of the contest, they were on the right side of the scoreboard, taking a 22-8 win.
“Calaveras scored on their opening drive, they took the kickoff and just marched down the field,” explained JV head coach Brant Rose. “They had an eight-play drive, it was looking like it was going to be a long night.”
Host Calaveras scored on an 8-yard pass play and added the 2-point conversion to take an early 8-0 lead, eating up most of the first quarter. Escalon’s first drive stalled and they had to punt it away but slowly started to settle in.
They got on the board with a 2-yard run from JP Lial in the second quarter but failed to convert the 2-point attempt, going in down 8-6 at the half.
It was the third quarter that was the turning point, as the Escalon JV boys found their running attack.
They took the lead with a 38-yard run from Logan Anderson followed by a 2-point conversion on a throw from Tyler Medina to Christian Tinoco. That made it 14-8 in Escalon’s favor.
“Defensively, we forced a fumble in the first half that we recovered and, in the third quarter, we got a huge interception by Alex Huynh,” Rose said.
The interception was key, as it stopped a Calaveras drive.
“They were moving the ball but after the interception, we turned it into a touchdown,” the coach explained of cashing in on the turnover.
That touchdown came on a 53-yard run from Lial, putting points on the board. Lial also ran in the 2-point conversion, giving the JV squad a 22-8 lead after three quarters.
Rose said the team responded well, being down at halftime, and were able to get their game going in the second half.
“We came up with some timely stops and timely drives,” said Rose.
Calaveras features a turf field, so it was a very hot start to the game. The young Cougars overcame the conditions and the early lead of their opponents to get the win.
Leading rusher on the night was Lial, 14 carries for 109 yards and two touchdowns; while quarterback Medina had three carries for 28 yards, picking up some key yards to sustain drives, and also completed 2-of-3 passes for 21 yards.
“Defensively, Sebastian Snow on the defensive line, played a big role and had some key tackles,” Rose noted. “And Alex Huynh’s interception was a game changer.”
This week, the JV boys will be back at home, hosting Sonora and looking to improve to 3-0 on the young season.
“It’s always a tough week,” Rose said, with Sonora running the option and running it well, his team will need to be ready and make sure they all handle their assignments to keep the visitors in check offensively.
Friday night kickoff on Sept. 6 is at 5 p.m.
The first game of the campaign for the youngest Cougars did start out well, the squad enjoying a halftime lead. Unlike their JV counterparts, however, they were not able to hang on for a win.
The freshmen hosted the Chavez Titans on Thursday, Aug. 30 and had a 14-6 lead after two quarters. Quarterback Javier Gutierrez found Mauricio Azevedo for a touchdown pass to get the scoring started, with fullback Ryker Peters then finding the end zone on a running play. Gutierrez hit the extra point attempt each time.
“In the second half, we ran out of gas a little bit,” said head coach Joey Costa. “There were some blown coverages, they were more physical, we saw some things we need to work on.”
Chavez took the lead and, with six minutes to go in the game, held just a 20-14 advantage.
“We had a timeout left and still had an opportunity,” Costa said.
But a Chavez interception ended the young Cougars’ hopes, as the visitors parlayed it for a touchdown, making the final score 26-14.
“We’ve got to work on tackling, several times we were in position to make a play, we had a chance to wrap up and we need to work on that for Sonora,” Costa said.
Escalon’s freshmen will head to Sonora for a Thursday night game, Sept. 5.
“They run,” Costa pointed out. “We need to be better in tackling.”