For the first time in 11 years, Escalon’s varsity football team left Ripon with a Trans-Valley League victory in hand.
It had been that long since the Cougars had won on the Indians’ home turf and they made it a memorable win, shutting out the host Ripon squad by a 43-0 final on Friday night.
With the win, the Cougars improved to 3-2 in Trans-Valley League play, winning their last three contests after an 0-2 start. They have one league game remaining, on the road at Livingston on Friday, Oct. 28 and will look to close out the league schedule with a win over the Wolves.
“It was an all-around effort, finally,” said head coach Andrew Beam. “The defense was awesome; the offense was balanced and that’s just what you want in a rivalry game.”
Escalon was able to spoil Ripon’s Senior Night festivities by taking the win and they also got a little payback after their big ‘E’ flag was twice disrespected by the Indians players and a fan.
“The extra curriculars probably helped a little bit,” Beam admitted of the flag incidents adding fuel to the fire the Cougars felt prior to the big rivalry game.
Breaking through their banner, the Cougars carry both the American flag and the yellow flag with the big purple ‘E’ in the center.
“We always put the flag on our 40,” Beam said, adding that placing the flags on the field is not an “in your face” action by his team.
However, a Ripon player crossed midfield and took the flag, throwing it to the ground. Escalon responded by briefly planting it among the flags spelling out R-I-P-O-N in the end zone, then it came back to the Cougar sideline. After the halftime break, a fan from the Ripon side fell in line with the Indian players and took the flag once again; it was quicky regained by Escalon.
“They kept adding fuel to the fire,” Beam said of the Indians.
But his Cougars were up to the challenge.
“That third quarter was electric,” he admitted of his team really pulling away and squashing any thought Ripon may have had about a comeback. “Our guys were ready.”
Escalon scored 12 points in the first quarter and added 10 more in the second for a 22-0 halftime lead. They put two more touchdowns on the board in the third quarter and one in the fourth, good for the 43-0 final.
Logan Anderson had a short touchdown run of 2 yards to get the scoring going, cashing in with 8:17 to go in the first. The extra point attempt was no good. Anderson also scored on a 7-yard run for the second touchdown; the 2-point attempt was no good but it was 12-0 Escalon with 3:45 to play in the first.
In the second quarter, Talan Reider hit a 30-yard field goal and Anderson had a touchdown catch, point after kick good, to extend the lead to 22-0 by halftime.
Javier Gutierrez had a pick six in the third quarter and the kick was good for a 29-0 Cougar lead. Jamin Miller then had an interception and the Cougars parlayed that turnover into a touchdown pass from Donovan Rozevink to Matthew Baptista. The kick was good and it was 36-0 Escalon.
Josh Graham closed out the scoring with a touchdown run in the fourth quarter, the kick was good for the 43-0 final.
The game featured a running clock in the fourth quarter.
“It was great to see the defense fly around, it was what we have been waiting for all year long,” Beam said. “Ryker Peters was just a different guy; he had nine tackles in the first three quarter of the game. Luke Maxwell had four tackles, including three on kickoffs. Javier Gutierrez, the birthday boy, had three interceptions, one of them the pick six and one catch for 25 yards, Jamin Miller had an interception.”
Offensively, Peters was the leading rusher, eight carries for 104 yards. Anderson had seven carries for 79 yards and two catches for 52 yards; Owen Nash had eight catches for 99 yards.
“Matthew Baptista contributed a lot, he had three catches for 45 yards and three carries for 16 yards,” Beam added. “Donovan Rozevink was 14-for-22 for 221 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.”
Showcasing the balanced attack, Beam said the Cougars had 226 yards rushing on the night and 221 yards passing.
“Our kickoff team did a really outstanding job,” he added. “There are a lot of kudos to go around.”