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Varsity Cougars Blast Bruins To Close Out Regular Season
Going in with two goals, winning and getting playing time for everyone, the Escalon varsity football team achieved both goals on Friday night. The varsity came away with a solid 55-20 win over host Riverbank in the regular season finale, with six different players getting into the end zone for Escalon.

"That was the whole idea of it," head coach Mark Loureiro said. "A lot of kids have been waiting for playing time and this was a chance for them to get it. You want the win, you want to get out of there healthy; we did that."

The Cougars scored two touchdowns in the first quarter, four in the second to take control of the contest. They added one more in each of the third and fourth quarters. Riverbank did not score in the first half, held out of the end zone by the Cougar starters. They did move the ball better against the second and third Escalon units, notching a trio of scores over the final two periods.

Escalon started the scoring in the first quarter with a 4-yard run from Nathan Chunn, the kick for the point after good by Thomas Diniz. Robbie Steves went in from 3 yards out with the kick good for an early 14-0 lead.

"I felt we got good games out of our quarterback, Phillip Kimble, he was 5-for-5 for 145 yards, Alec VonAlvensleben had three catches for 115 yards," said Loureiro. "Also our backs, Robbie Steves scored and Johnathon Costa, got into the end zone, they have been doing our blocking all year so I was happy to see them, both these kids in their senior year, score."

Frankie Bavaro also went in for a pair of late scores with the second unit, running hard. In the second quarter, Escalon got three rushing touchdowns and a pass completion for a score. Jason Robbins went in from 13 yards out, kick good; Costa, 1-yard, kick good; Kimble, 10-yard pass to Andrew Zavala for a touchdown, kick good; and Steves, his second score of the night, from 8 yards out, with the kick blocked by Riverbank.

That still put Escalon in control, 41-0 at halftime.

Riverbank got on the board in the third quarter on an 8-yard run and tacked on the extra point, and then got a 23-yard pass completion for a score with the extra point good, getting to within 41-14. Bavaro then got the first of his two scores, from 4 yards out, with the kick good to make it 48-14 at the end of three. A 1-yard plunge by Bavaro and the point after made it 55-14 and Riverbank had the final touchdown of the night, a 5-yard pass with the extra point no good for a 55-20 final.

"They still had their starters in there so it was nice to see our second group go down and score twice," said Loureiro. "I felt Ben Hood on defense played really well with that group and Tyler Lawrence was a real physical player for us."

Defensively, Costa and Lance Davis were leaders in tackles with eight each. Steves had a fumble recovery and the Cougars picked off four passes on the night, two by Josh Redding and one each by Jacob Salvador and VonAlvensleben.

Escalon had 481 total yards of offense but also had three fumbles and lost them all on the night. They had 44 rushing plays for 337 yards and 145 passing yards. Riverbank rushed the ball 29 times for 98 yards and had 142 passing yards for 240 total. The Bruins fumbled three times and lost two of them.

"Those kids play hard for him and I have seen improvement," Loureiro said of the Bruins and their head coach Jim Oliver. "They're starting to get a lot more continuity in that program."