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Varsity Cougars Clamp Down On Summerville
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It was more of a pedestrian effort than a spectacular one but the end result was a victory on the road.

Escalon's varsity football Cougars closed out the preseason campaign with a 31-7 win at Summerville on Friday.

"We were in control the whole game," said coach Mark Loureiro. "We had a couple of additional scoring opportunities in the first half that we didn't capitalize on or it would have been a different score."

Gustavo Arzac handled the bulk of the ball carrying in the contest, rushing 17 times for a total of 101 yards on the night. One of those carries was a touchdown. The Cougars got touchdowns from four different players and tacked on one field goal in the contest.

Summerville also struck late in the first half on a Hail Mary pass to trim the deficit to 17-7 at the half but couldn't get any closer.

"We played good but not spectacular," Loureiro said. "They (Summerville) play pretty good at home but we won and we got out of there healthy."

The Cougars made a statement early in the game, driving the length of the field on their first possession and going in for the score.

"We had seven straight running plays and Gus Arzac ran it in from four yards out," explained Loureiro.

Chris Diniz added the point after for an early 7-0 Cougar lead.

That was all the scoring in the first quarter, though Escalon was able to get two more scores in the second quarter, running out to a 17-0 lead before Summerville made up some ground before halftime.

Quarterback Andrew Beam found Steve Gentry in the second quarter on a 62-yard pass play for the score, Diniz added the kick to make it 14-0.

"We then missed on a 39-yard field goal attempt but the next possession, Diniz kicked a 33-yard field goal and that put us up 17-0," Loureiro said. "Right before the half, Summerville's quarterback scrambled and heaved it deep, there was a jump ball in the end zone and they came down with it for a 48-yard touchdown."

Summerville tacked on the extra point and kept the Cougars within reach, the host team trailing 17-7 at the halfway point.

Two more scores for the Cougars put the game out of reach, one touchdown coming in the third quarter, one in the fourth.

Jason Chandley ran the ball in from 26 yards out in the third quarter with Diniz adding the kick to make it 24-7 and Beam connected on an 8-yard scoring strike to Marcus Savage in the fourth quarter, Diniz added the point after for the final 31-7 verdict.

"We had kind of a letdown after Homecoming," Loureiro admitted. "We didn't practice particularly well this week."

For the game, Beam completed five of 10 pass attempts for 138 yards and two touchdowns. Pulling down the passes were Savage with two catches for 27 yards and a touchdown, with one pass reception each for Gentry, 62 yards; Jason Chandley, 27 yards, Anthony Suniga, 22 yards.

Suniga also intercepted a Summerville pass and Sean O'Neill recovered a Summerville fumble.

Leading rusher was Arzac with his 17 carries for 101 yards and a score. Savage racked up 63 yards on eight carries, Jason Chandley, 8-for-57; Justin Chandley, 5-for-31.

Leading tacklers were Jesse Jimenez with 10 tackles, Arzac with seven. Jake Brown and Gentry each had six tackles and Gentry added one sack.

Escalon played well enough to win, said Loureiro, but will have to pick up the pace now that the preseason is over.

"We made it through the preseason 5-0 and I didn't expect that," Loureiro pointed out. "Our juniors came along quicker than I anticipated but you can erase those five wins, now league starts and everybody is back to 0-0."

Escalon will start the Trans-Valley League schedule at home, facing off against a familiar foe - Hughson.

"This is a big three-game stretch we're starting," Loureiro said. "We have Hughson at home and then we go to Hilmar and Ripon."

The Cougars will take the field Friday night, Oct. 15, following the conclusion of the JV contest.

Both the JV and varsity Cougars were undefeated during the preseason.