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Senior Night Shutout Win For Varsity Cougars Over Ripon Christian
It was a convincing win, a satisfying Senior Night and a chance for everyone to get in on the action.

Escalon hosted Ripon Christian at Engel Field on Friday night, the varsity Cougars taking a shutout victory, 42-0, off the field. There was no JV game on Friday, with Ripon Christian folding its JV program and taking those players up to the varsity level. By halftime, it was 35-0 and head coach Mark Loureiro used the second half to make sure all players got into the contest.

"The main thing is I got all the kids in," Loureiro said. "It was nice to watch them get in and be successful."

It also didn't take very long for the Cougars to make a statement. After kicking off to Ripon Christian to start the game, the defense - in the form of Blake Nayer - picked off an RC pass and ran it back 23 yards for a touchdown just over a minute into the contest. With Jesus Duran adding the point after, it was 7-0 with 10:56 to play in the opening quarter.

"Blake made a big play with that interception, he got the night moving," Loureiro said.

The visiting Knights did make some headway on their next possession, including a big pass play for a first down, but then went three and punt to give the ball back to the home team.

Escalon converted on that possession, Jake Caton finding the end zone after a 20-yard run with 6:24 to play. Duran tacked on the extra point for a 14-0 advantage.

"After that, defensively, we took the game over," noted Loureiro. "We held them to no yards rushing, they had 22 attempts and no yards. We had four sacks, three interceptions, one fumble recovery, so it was a very good effort on the defensive side."

Escalon gambled some offensively, often going for it on fourth down when they might have opted to punt against some stronger teams.

The Cougars found plenty of ways to get into the end zone in the second quarter, scoring three times while keeping Ripon Christian at bay.

Quarterback Nick Aprile scored with 8:21 to go, using a second and then a third effort from 2 yards out to power through the defense and get the score. Duran's kick was good to make it 21-0.

Ripon Christian was roughed up on their next possession, Thomas Martin recording a sack and then Danny Thompson picked off a Knight pass at the 32-yard line and returned it to the 5, setting up Josh May to go in for the next Cougar score. Duran kicked the extra point to give the home team a 28-0 lead with 7:02 to play in the first half. Still not able to get much going, Ripon Christian saw their next possession end with a fumble recovery by the Cougars.