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Trio Of Gridiron Losses For Cougar Football This Week
Talan Reider, at right, tucks the ball away as he looks for some running room around the side during Friday night action against the Grizzlies of California High School in San Ramon. Escalon fell, 42-21, in the varsity contest. Marg Jackson/The Times

As long as some of their road games so far this season have been, the Friday night trip to California High School in San Ramon was short by comparison. But it might as well have been in another dimension.

The student section at the school took up more than half of the bleachers on the home side, likely featuring more students in that rooting section alone than Escalon has enrolled in school. And the Grizzlies – with plenty of Division I college prospects – put on a display of passing accuracy, speed and big play explosiveness.

Not all that different than what the Cougars have shown far this season … except this past Friday night.

“We had five total turnovers through our first three games of the year,” head coach Andrew Beam pointed out after the 42-21 loss to the Grizzlies on Sept. 8, the first for the Cougars this season, dropping to 3-1. “Friday night we had five turnovers in one game.”

Those miscues hurt the Cougars, who never really got into their rhythm and were down early, having to play from behind.

“We ran into a team that was big, fast, physical and I thought very well coached,” Beam said. “We played far from our best.”

Escalon won the toss and deferred; they stopped California’s first possession and put together a drive of their own but got stopped on the 1-yard line, just short of getting into the end zone.

“Our next drive, we were inside their 40 and we threw a pick” Beam said. “We had our chances early.”

The Grizzlies scored a touchdown in the first quarter on an 86-yard pick six and another on a 24-yard pass completion in the second to lead 14-0, but Escalon put together a drive to get on the board, a rushing play by Josh Graham and the point after by Talan Reider, with two minutes left in the half to trim the lead to 14-7.

Beam said he felt good at that point, knowing his team would get the ball to start the second half. But the Grizzlies spoiled that as well, punching one in just before time expired in the half, leading 21-7.

They would go on to score three more touchdowns to Escalon’s one in the third quarter to lead 42-14 after three; Escalon scored a touchdown in the fourth to make it 42-21 but couldn’t get any closer.

Escalon scores came on a 2-yard run by Graham in the second quarter, a 1-yard rush by Graham in the third and a 3-yard touchdown catch by Chase Cummings in the fourth. Talan Reider added the point after each time.

“I do think the offensive line had a really good game, they were getting a push up front, we rushed for 323 yards,” Beam said. “Defensively Jamin Miller had seven tackles, Nate Krieger had six tackles, Carson Medina at outside linebacker had five tackles, Ryan Lewis knocked down a couple of passes and Nico Franzia had five tackles.”

Rushing, Graham had 29 carries for 154 yards and two touchdowns; Miller had eight carries for 57 yards. Receiving, Sam Jimenez had five catches for 46 yards while quarterback Donovan Rozevink was 7-for-15 for 60 yards.

This week, the team will be in Oakdale for a Friday night, Sept. 15 contest against the host Mustangs.



It was not a fun trip to San Ramon for the JV Cougars on Friday night, falling to the host Grizzlies at California High School by a 35-7 decision. Escalon’s lone touchdown came late in the fourth quarter, an 82-yard run by Co Northcutt to avoid the shutout. Isaac Patino added the point after to get seven points on the board for Escalon.

Host California High scored three times in the second quarter, on a 40-yard rush, and two short yardage runs, kicking the extra point each time, to lead 21-0 at the half.

They added an 11-yard run, kick good, in the fourth to go up 28-0 and they made it 35-0 on a 39-yard run, kick good, later in the final quarter before Escalon broke through.

“This game unraveled on us quickly in the second quarter due to our own mistakes,” said head coach Brant Rose. “We totaled four turnovers in the game, two fumbles, two on downs.”

And though the score doesn’t reflect it, Rose said he felt it was a game his team was competitive in, with three long, sustained drives deep into California territory.

“All ended in turnovers instead of points,” Rose noted. “This feels like a game we lost, not necessarily got beat.”



The youngest Cougars traveled to face off with Lodi at the Grape Bowl on Thursday, Sept. 7 and took a hard fought 20-14 loss.

Lodi got the ball first and, on the second play, Escalon forced a fumble and recovered it. That led to a 35-yard drive with Noah Dooley scoring on a 2-yard rushing play with the kick by Damian Morales for a 7-0 Escalon lead.

Lodi answered back quickly, driving for a score on their next possession and tacking on the 2-point conversion to go up 8-7.

Just before half, the host Lodi team found the end zone again, missing the 2-point conversion but going into the locker room with a 14-7 halftime lead.

The third quarter was a stalemate, neither team scoring, but Lodi found the end zone late in the fourth, scoring to go up 20-7 with about four minutes left in the game.

Morales then returned the ensuing kickoff 75 yards for the score and kicked the extra point, cutting the deficit to 20-14.

The onside kick attempt by Escalon was unsuccessful, though, with Lodi then able to run out the clock and take the win.

“Our standouts for the game were Connor McDowell, Tyler Powell and Damian Morales,” said defensive coordinator Roman Gonzalez, who added that the freshmen have their bye this week.

Angling toward the sideline is JV player Co Northcutt, who found the end zone late in the game against California High School on Friday night, though the Cougar squad fell by a 35-7 final. Marg Jackson/The Times
Cougar varsity player Jamin Miller, left, follows his blockers to gain some yardage in Friday night’s game on the road at San Ramon, facing the California High School Grizzlies. The varsity took its first loss of the season, 42-21. Marg Jackson/The Times
There were some good defensive plays for Escalon against the Grizzlies of California High School on Friday night, with Ryan Lewis stretching up here to bat down a pass attempt. But the Cougars came out on the wrong end of the score for the first time this season, losing by a 42-21 final. Marg Jackson/The Times