Getting the unexpected opportunity to play Friday night at home, due to bad air quality in San Andreas, the JV football Cougars welcomed Calaveras to town. They were rude hosts, however, sending their opponent away with a 27-6 loss.
Escalon took a 21-0 lead in the first half and never looked back, said assistant coach Jonathon Costa, filling in for head coach Brant Rose, who was unable to make the game.
“We wanted to work on conditioning,” Costa said of what the focus was in practice this week, coming off the opening week game against Linden.
The practice was effective in that players seemed to be able to sustain their focus and energy throughout the contest.
“The boys did good, there were some little mistakes, here and there, but we’re building the foundation for a good JV squad,” Costa explained.
Josh Graham found the end zone three times for the JV Cougars, with Talan Reider scoring the other touchdown.
“We definitely improved on our first week performance but we’re not there yet,” added Costa. “The defense played very well, especially the defensive ends.”
They showed marked improvement from the game against Linden, the assistant coach said, and that was encouraging for all the coaches to see.
Now they will gear up for a tough test, getting ready to face off with Sonora this week. The game is scheduled to be played on the road, with a 5 p.m. kickoff on Friday, Sept. 3.
It was a very tough road trip for the youngest Cougar squad, the freshmen traveling to Bret Harte on Thursday, Aug. 26 and falling in a 52-7 final.
“We gave up two quick scores,” head coach Joey Costa said of falling behind early on the road.
He also noted that coaches were not pleased with the effort they saw from the starters after they fell behind, feeling as though they were not working as a cohesive unit and many were putting in a lackluster effort.
“We played (most of) the second, third and fourth quarters with the second string guys,” Costa explained. “I sent a message to the first group; if you won’t compete, play real football, you will get pulled.”
And though it was a “hard lesson” for the starting group to learn, Costa said he hopes the message got through.
“It was not fun,” he said of the trip to Angels Camp.
Escalon’s lone touchdown of the night came late in the game on a short rushing play by Jaxson Coy.
Costa said the goal for the team this week is to put together a much stronger effort, as they are scheduled to host Sonora at Engel Field on Thursday, Sept. 2. Game time is 6 p.m.