A long but successful road trip started the season off right for the Escalon JV Cougars, with new head coach Brant Rose and the football team coming away with a 14-0 win on Friday night.
The game at Union Mine High School in El Dorado saw the visiting Cougars score a touchdown in the first quarter and another in the third on the way to the shutout victory. It was a satisfying start to the season for the new head coach, his assistants, and the team.
“Offensively we moved the ball well and established an effective running game from the very first series,” said Rose.
The first score of the night for the JV Cougars came on an 18-yard run from J.P. Lial, with the point after attempt sent through the uprights by Miguel Sandoval. That was the only scoring in the first half, as the Escalon squad had a 7-0 lead at the break.
They added their second score on a 50-yard run by Jaden Fontes, with the kick good by Sandoval for the 14-0 advantage.
“We did have some sloppy play that stalled drives, in one case we fumbled on the 1-yard line late in the game,” noted Rose.
Other than those miscues, the coach said the team did move the ball and rolled up 297 yards rushing on the night. Fontes had 17 carries for 121 yards to lead the team.
“Ty Harris was our quarterback and he did a good job of keeping plays alive and we had some key passes, including one on a fourth down conversion that kept the scoring drive alive in the first quarter,” explained Rose.
Harris had 30 yards rushing himself and also found Lial and Eli Lattig for pass completions.
In terms of penalties, the Cougars had some costly ones, including a block in the back call that brought back a 30-yard touchdown run by Harris.
Overall, however, the end result was a win and that is something to be happy about, Rose added.
“Definitely the note you want to start off on,” he said of getting that first win. “It helps build confidence in the players and in the coaching staff.”
The team was scheduled to watch film of the Union Mine game on Monday to review their performance and then watch the film they have on Calaveras – their next opponent – on Tuesday.
“They play very sound football, we’ve got a bit of a challenge in front of us,” Rose said.
The Friday night game will be at home, with the JV squad kicking off their game with Calaveras at 5:30 p.m.
“With the exception of the three that played JV last year as freshmen, this will be the first time these kids get to play Friday night football,” Rose said, adding that they should be excited and ready to go in front of the hometown crowd.