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Scrimmage Highlights Team Strengths, Weaknesses
For the first time out this season, matching up against someone other than their own teammates, the Escalon High School varsity football team did a pretty good job on Friday night.

Hosting Calaveras - the team Escalon defeated to take the Sac-Joaquin Section crown last year - at Engel Field, the pros outweighed the cons for head coach Mark Loureiro.

"I really felt we got better in the scrimmage as we went," said Loureiro, whose teams had several reps on offense and then on defense against the Redskins. They played on half the field, with the JV team using the other side. Loureiro said he was pleased with some of his 'prime time' guys stepping up, such as Tony Vincent, who was dominant on the field defensively. Providing some offensive spark were Nathan Chunn, who ran hard at fullback, and Phillip Kimble, who came on to quarterback the second unit.

"I was impressed with him, he threw the ball well," explained Loureiro. "Alec Von Alvensleben did a nice job of catching the ball."

The preseason scrimmage gives both teams the chance to gauge where they are and the Cougars have a longstanding agreement to trade hits with Calaveras the first week out. Loureiro said some of his players were in very briefly, not wanting to risk an injury, but everyone appears ready to go for the season opener on Friday night, Sept. 2. The Cougars will host Lathrop, with a 5:30 p.m. start time for the JV, the varsity game following at about 7:30 p.m.

"We got out of there healthy," noted Loureiro. "But that scrimmage there, that might be tougher than two or three of our actual games."

JV head coach Randy Northcutt said his team did have moments of playing well, but need to focus more on teamwork and being coachable if they expect to have success on the gridiron.

"We didn't execute very well," Northcutt said. "We made a lot of mental mistakes and we got tired. This week we will work on every phase of the game."

Standouts for the JV team in the scrimmage were a trio of offensive players, Ben Hood at quarterback, Josh Redding at running back and Collin Strasser at tight end.

Defensively, the team needs to be stronger, said Northcutt, and his overall assessment is that the team needs "a lot more discipline" when they take the field this week to start the season.