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Shutout Win In Football Season Opener For Cougars
Facing off against a new foe, Escalon put a solid 37-0 victory on the books against host Lathrop in its first football game of the season on Friday.

The Cougars used a combination of running and passing to find the end zone while the defense came away with a strong effort to keep the host squad off the board.

Escalon got one touchdown in the first quarter, three TDs and a safety in the second quarter to take a 30-0 halftime lead. They added one more touchdown in the third quarter.

Josh Miguel scored on runs of 45 and 61 yards, Brandon Shaw pulled in touchdown passes of 30 and 20 yards from quarterback Gino Franceschetti, while Miguel and Franceschetti connected on a 41 yard pass play for a score. Nate Caton had a tackle in the end zone for a safety to tack on a couple more points and Franceschetti hit all five of his point after attempts.

"Josh had a great start, nine carries for 197 yards and two (rushing) touchdowns," said head coach Mark Loureiro. "James Hill had seven carries for 70 yards and got some key first downs for us, some hard yards."

Also key to the offensive attack was Shaw, who was among Franceschetti's favorite targets.

"We try to get the ball into the hands of our playmakers," said Loureiro.

Lathrop found out quickly that Shaw could not be covered by one single player, burning the single coverage for scores before they started to double team him.

"I thought we played pretty well with the first group," added Loureiro. "There were a few missed assignments but we will use this game to improve."

Defensively, the first group made the most of their opportunity to hit someone, Caton leading the way with eight tackles and a sack. Victor Carrillo had seven tackles, Hill had six tackles and a fumble recovery.

"We were pleased with our effort," Loureiro said. "We're starting eight juniors on defense and there were some mistakes but these were mistakes that are easily correctable."

Loureiro said the hardest part was trying to make sure all 42 players suited up were able to get in the game and everyone did get on the field, if even for a brief time.

Escalon had a total of 410 yards, 319 on the ground and 91 through the air. Franceschetti completed 3-of-8 pass attempts. Lathrop had 127 total yards, with 99 yards rushing and 28 passing on 4-of-9 completions.

This week, the Cougars head to Linden to take on the Lions on Friday night, Sept. 10.

Mark Miller returns to coach the team after a break of a few years and Loureiro said he anticipates a good battle.

"He'll bring a lot of stability and continuity to the program," Loureiro said. "They run about 70 percent of the time, throw it 30 percent of the time, Escalon-Linden is always a great game and this will be a good challenge for us."