It was a hard fought loss for the junior varsity boys on the football field this week, while the freshmen battled to get their first victory of the season.
In JV action, it seemed as though time just ran out before Escalon could get the score that would have won the game.
They hosted the Manteca High JV Buffaloes on Thursday night, Oct. 7 at Engel Field and took a 22-20 loss.
Escalon took the lead in the first quarter on a 17-yard run by Nate Krieger and the extra point by Talan Reider went through the uprights for a 7-0 Cougar lead.
In the second quarter, Manteca got on the board with a 63-yard pass play and converted the two points for an 8-7 advantage.
That was where it stood at the half, the visitors leading by a single point.
“So proud of how hard our boys played and the grit they displayed,” said head coach Brant Rose. “They put together their best effort of the season so far and nearly beat a large school football power that was much bigger and faster than us.”
Second half scoring saw Escalon regain the lead as Reider went in on a 3-yard run. The 2-point conversion failed but it was a 13-8 lead.
Manteca was quick to counter, scoring on a 5-yard run and tacking on the 2-point conversion to go up 16-13.
It looked as though the visiting Buffaloes would put the game away with an 82-yard run for the touchdown in the fourth quarter. Their 2-point conversion failed but they extended the lead to 22-13.
Escalon continued to make headway up the field and were able to score again, this time on a 3-yard run by Josh Graham. With the point after good, Escalon cut the lead to 22-20. They then tried the onside kick and appeared to have it covered, but a Manteca player emerged from the pile with the ball and the Buffaloes were then able to run out the clock with a couple of snaps.
“We had control of Manteca for most of the game; the final score really was determined by a handful of plays that we would like to have back,” Rose said. “We are disappointed what the scoreboard shows, because we outplayed them for four quarters. Still, this game showed that the future is bright for Escalon football.”
Working hard throughout the season, those efforts paid off – finally – for the youngest Cougars. They earned a 28-12 win over Stagg of Stockton in the opener of the Thursday night doubleheader at Engel Field.
“Jacob Augusto scored three touchdowns and Austin Cullum scored one and also had two 2-point conversions as well,” said head coach Joey Costa. “Very proud of the effort of the kids on both sides of the ball.”
The freshmen were able to keep Stagg at arm’s length, outlasting and outdistancing them with a strong game, including withstanding some tough second half play by the visitors.
“I’m proud of the fact they keep working hard and believing even though it hadn’t translated to a win before Thursday,” added Costa. “Proud of the offensive line, as they did a good job due to all the blitzing.”
The freshmen were especially tough in the first half, holding Stagg scoreless and getting three turnovers.
“Offensive standouts were Jacob Augusto, Austin Cullum and the offensive line along with our tight ends,” Costa said. “Defensive standouts were Josh Limones, Christian Rodriguez, Preston Berhorst and Jaxon Coy.”
The freshman team has a bye this week, then head on the road to play games at Ripon and Livingston to close out the season.