By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Trip To Bret Harte Successful For Cougars
Placeholder Image
Though they started out a little slowly, they finished with a flourish, the Escalon varsity Cougars posting a 47-6 win over the host Bret Harte Bullfrogs on Friday night.

The Cougars improved to 3-0 on the season with the win. They kicked off to the host squad and held Bret Harte to three and punt on the first possession of the game. It looked as though Escalon would get a quick score, Marcus Savage making a catch, carrying for a first down, then getting another first down run. But the next pass attempt from quarterback Andrew Beam was intercepted by Bret Harte's Sean Ziehlke to stop the Cougar progress.

The Bullfrogs didn't get very far, their next possession was stopped on a Sean O'Neill sack that forced Bret Harte to punt. From there, Savage and Justin Chandley took turns carrying the ball with Savage taking the ball in for the score from 6 yards out with 2:45 to play in the first quarter. Chris Diniz added the point after for a 7-0 lead.

"I was real excited with how the kids played on the road," coach Mark Loureiro said. "They started out a little sluggish but then they went from seven points to 34 just like that."

Four scores for the Cougars in the second quarter gave them a 34-0 lead at the half.

Beam hooked up with Jason Chandley on a 46-yard pass play with 7:18 to go in the second quarter, the kick failed, but Escalon was up 13-0.

Bret Harte's next possession was stalled by an aggressive Cougar defense, Ryan Lippincott recovering a fumble to give the ball back to the Escalon squad. That set up a 9-yard touchdown pass to Steve Gentry, Diniz added the kick to make it 20-0 with 6:24 to play in the first half.

Savage found the end zone with 2:20 to go, a 20-yard run with Diniz adding the kick to make it 27-0. Keeping the pressure on, Savage picked off a Bret Harte pass with 1:14 to play in the opening half. The Cougars used that to their advantage, Beam finding Gentry on an 11-yard pass play for the score in the final seconds of the half. The kick was good for a 34-0 Escalon advantage at the half.

"Andrew Beam struggled a bit at the start, but then he found his confidence, had some touchdown passes with a nice touch on them," Loureiro noted. "Once we got on them, we didn't let up."

Scoring 21 points in the final two minutes of the first half gave Escalon a comfortable lead and put Bret Harte in the tough position of trying to make it all the way back.

"Our offense kept the pressure on them," said Loureiro. "Our defense made two big turnovers, we capitalized on them."

In the second half, each team scored one touchdown in the third quarter, Escalon got one more in the fourth for the 47-6 final.

Gus Arzac charged through for a score from 3 yards out with 5:32 to play in the third quarter. The kick by Diniz was blocked but the Cougars had a 40-0 lead.

Bret Harte finally broke through on a long run, 77 yards, for the score by Todd Ziehlke but the 2-point conversion failed to make it 40-6.

Spreading the scoring around, Escalon's final tally of the night came from Myles Bishop on a fourth and goal to go with 3:17 to play. Bishop scored from 4 yards out, Diniz added the kick for the final 47-6 score.

"We came out, all guns firing, ready for war," Loureiro said during the post-game gathering underneath the uprights. "Now we're making some big steps."

The excitement of the win was tempered a bit when senior guard/defensive lineman Anthony Oste went down on the sidelines after being hit on a previous play. The 5-10, 230-pound Oste was tended to on the sidelines, first by Escalon's trainer, then paramedics on scene. A doctor watching the game was also called in and, with Oste suffering symptoms of a concussion, the decision was made to transport him to a local hospital for observation.

"He ended up with a mild concussion, came home that night, it looked a lot scarier than it was," Loureiro said.

Oste could not remember the hit that sent him down; Loureiro said in watching the game film there also was no obvious play that caused the injury. Oste's parents were able to accompany him to the hospital and the Escalon fans gave Oste an ovation as he was wheeled off the field on a stretcher.

Loureiro said as far as the game itself, there were plenty of outstanding performances on the night.

"Marcus Savage stepped up and had a great night, he had 12 carries for 112 yards and two touchdowns, it was nice to see a big game out of him," noted Loureiro. "We got a lot of yards out of our fullbacks, they had identical nights, Gus Arzac and Justin Chandley each had 14 carries for 89 yards."

Gentry had two touchdown receptions and also figured in to the defensive attack, showing he can play well on both sides of the ball.

Arzac was also a leader on defense, with 12 tackles, Jason Chandley, O'Neill and Savage each had a sack and Savage pulled down the interception.

"We also need to compliment the guys up front," Loureiro said. "Our juniors on the line did a great job, Justin Kelly, Frank Kaech and Nate Keyser, plus our tackles, Jake Brown and Mike Sawyer, blocked great up front for us."

Tight ends Gentry and Anthony Suniga earned praise for doing the job down the field to allow the runners to gain ground.

"They did a nice job with the smashmouth," said Loureiro.

And, with the Cougars gearing up for Homecoming and the Trans-Valley League campaign just around the corner, Loureiro said he also is extremely pleased with the work of kicker Diniz.

"He is turning in to quite a weapon," Loureiro explained. "Seven out of eight kicks went into the end zone, then they have to drive 80 yards. That's a long way to go in high school football...if we stop them defensively, they have to punt and then we're playing on half the field, that's a tremendous weapon."

The Cougars will need all their weapons this week, hosting Linden on Friday night to culminate the Homecoming festivities.