The Varsity Escalon Outlaws want to keep the momentum as playoffs approach. The visiting Linden Lions brought a 5-1 record to Engel Field. Escalon also had a 5-1 record meaning this match-up had definite playoff seeding implications. The Outlaws needed a win to stay in the hunt for a top four playoff seed in the Mother Lode Valley League. The top four seeds in the playoffs get to hold the home sideline if the game is played at a neutral site.
Linden would receive the opening kick-off but with a sack of the quarterback by Donovan Rozevink and Matthew Baptista forced the Lions to punt. Escalon would take possession on their own 23-yard line. Baptista would make up for a false start penalty by racing 72 yards around the left end led by Tate Christensen who had a key block to spring Baptista free. Jacob Martin would convert the point after kick to give Escalon an early 7-0 lead.
Linden would reel off 14 unanswered points with a pair of touchdowns and a single 2-point conversion. Escalon would mount their comeback sparked by a 56-yard run by Baptista to the Linden 8-yard line. The Outlaws would suffer a tackle for a short loss but Rozevink would carry the ball and the pile 10 yards into the end zone. CJ Miller, Tate Christensen and Sam Hinojosa pushed the pile to ensure Rozevink would finish his run. The 2-point conversion attempt would be stopped and Escalon would still trail 14-13.
Linden would misplay the ensuing kick-off and Caleb Cavanaugh would cover the loose football giving the Outlaws possession deep in Linden territory. Escalon would start on the Linden 33-yard line. Rozevink would find Baptista behind the Linden defense on a pass to gain 27 yards. Ryker Peters would dive into the end zone from 2 yards out. The 2-point conversion run would be stopped again. The damage was done as Escalon took a 19-14 lead that would hold up to be the final score.
Linden would drive one more time threatening to take the lead. The Lions would get all the way down inside the Outlaws’ 10-yard line. Hinojosa would make a touchdown saving tackle at the 6-yard line on third down, then a pass into the end zone would fall incomplete. Escalon would take possession by turnover on downs.
Escalon will host the Waterford Sabrecats at Engel Field next week. The Outlaws will also be celebrating the eighth graders in the program, both football players and cheerleaders.
The JV Outlaws needed to climb back in the saddle after faltering last week in triple overtime. A win this week would catapult them right back into the thick of the playoff race. The JV Outlaws played host to the visiting Linden Lions. Both teams were carrying identical 4-2 records into the contest. The Outlaws would make a statement with a 34-6 victory. This victory put Escalon in a tie with Hughson at 5-2. Hughson lost to the Central Valley 49ers, just as the Outlaws did. Hughson, however, holds the tie breaker should they finish the season tied.
The defense stepped up their level led by Ryan Lewis, David White, and Hayden McPherson.
Jamin Miller would lead the offense with two touchdown passes to Lewis and a touchdown of his own on the ground. Ruben Moreno also had a score on the ground.
Next week is the last regular season league game at home for the JV Outlaws when they face visiting Waterford Sabrecats.
The Novice Outlaws are clawing their way back into playoff contention, but have two big games remaining in the season. The young Outlaws are tied with the Waterford Sabrecats and the Ripon Chiefs for the last playoff spot in the Novice division. Those same two teams are remaining on Escalon’s schedule. Waterford will visit next week in the Outlaws’ final home game, and then the Outlaws will travel to Ripon for the regular season finale.
This week would be a hard fought contest with the visiting Linden Lions. The Escalon offense would mark the scoreboard with 18 points on three touchdowns. Each of the point after touchdown conversions were stopped. These stops would prove to be the crucial difference. Linden would make one of their three after touchdown conversions across the goal line. Escalon would fall 19-18.
The offensive scores were provided by Donovan Martinez, Jeremy Grivette and Ben Gonzalez.
The Jr Novice Outlaws are clinging to the seventh seed in the league standings. The upcoming games could secure their spot in the playoffs with two victories. This week would not be as successful facing the visiting Linden Lions. The youngest Outlaws would be tripped up 3-1 by Linden.
Aiden Cavanaugh scored the lone touchdown for Escalon.
The Outlaws’ defensive efforts were led by Benett Guevara, Carter Castro and Jacob Garza.