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Season Finale Ends In Tough Loss For Varsity Outlaws Squad
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Members of the Escalon Outlaws football and cheer squads were among the groups riding on floats earlier this fall as part of the annual Homecoming parade. The varsity Outlaws closed out the youth football season with an appearance in the Nov. 3 championship game. Marg Jackson/The Times

The Escalon Outlaws traveled to Calaveras High School to meet the Argonaut Jr. Mustangs in the Mother Lode Valley Football League Championship Game on Saturday, Nov. 3. These two teams met during the second week of the season. Argonaut won that meeting 44-20. Escalon wanted to show that they had improved since that first meeting. The Outlaws had won two tough football games to reach the final game of the season. Escalon would need an even better performance than either one of those previous performances to come out on top in this match up against the Jr. Mustangs.

Escalon would win the coin toss but elected to defer to receive the kick in the second half. Argonaut would take the ball after the opening kick-off and set the tone for the evening. The Jr. Mustangs would have a three-play drive covering 54 yards. The biggest blow was a run of 30 yards around and through the Outlaws defense. The 2-point conversion after the touchdown was successful opening the scoring at 8-0. Escalon showed that their nerves were at the surface with their first possession. A fumbled exchange on the second play from scrimmage was lost to the Jr. Mustangs in Outlaws’ territory. Argonaut would exploit this opportunity grinding out another scoring drive. The 2-point conversion after touchdown pushed the Jr. Mustangs lead to 16-0.

Escalon would find their bearings, working a scoring drive of their own. Tough running by Matthew Baptista, Logan Anderson, Ruben Moreno and Donovan Rozevink powered the drive into the Jr. Mustangs end zone. The scoring drive covered 54 yards resulting in a 12-yard run by Baptista into the end zone. In order for the Outlaws to keep pace on the scoreboard Escalon needed a 2-point conversion after the touchdown of their own. Baptista would deliver, sweeping around the right end dodging would-be tacklers. The Outlaws cut the deficit in half 16-8.

Argonaut would post three unanswered scores with a pair of 2-point conversions stretching the lead to 38-8. The Outlaws possessions during this stretch ended in one punt and one fumble. The fumble came after a pass completion on a fake punt from Baptista to Anderson that could have been a swing in momentum. Taking the ball at the end of the third quarter running into the fourth quarter Escalon would produce a 65-yard scoring drive. The majority of that yardage was covered by the 33-yard pass from Rozevink to Owen Nash. Rozevink would carry the 2-point conversion through the left side inching the Outlaws closer 38-16.

Argonaut would tally one more score on the first play following the ensuing kick-off. The 2-point conversion would be stopped but the damage was done. The Jr. Mustangs stretched the lead again to 44-16. This would be the final score of the game. Escalon had one more possession, but the drive would stall deep in Argonaut territory. The Jr. Mustangs were able to kneel the ball down to extinguish the game clock.

The scoreboard did not reflect the defensive efforts of Outlaws player Tate Christensen, who led the attack on defense. He had multiple tackles for a loss, wrangling the Argonaut ball carriers. Christensen also had multiple tackles where he tracked down the Jr. Mustangs’ ball carrier after they had crossed the line of scrimmage.

This game would be the last for many of the Outlaws as their next football game will be in the uniforms of the Escalon High School Cougars.