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Varsity Cougars Upend Dixon Rams In Season Opener
It was a long road trip, but it was well worth it.

Opening up the season on the road at Dixon, the varsity Cougars came home from Friday night's non-league football contest with a 32-14 win in hand.

"I was kind of happy with the way the kids competed," said head coach Mark Loureiro. "We were up and down in practice all week and when we left there (Dixon) I didn't feel that good, but when I watched the film, I realized we played better than I thought.

"We had a real solid game on defense in the first half, the kids made some plays."

Nick Largent had 11 tackles and one sack, Izzy Ruiz had seven tackles, one interception and one fumble recovery, while Jason Diniz and Charlie McDonald each recorded eight tackles.

"A lot of kids were flying around the ball," Loureiro said.

Dixon had the ball first on Friday night but went three and out and Escalon began its first offensive series of the season, using some solid running to get in position for the first points of the year, Diniz connecting on a 38-yard field goal with 4:21 to play in the first quarter to make it a 3-0 Escalon lead.

In the second quarter, Escalon got a touchdown run from McDonald, going in from 3 yards out. With the point after by Diniz, it was 10-0.

The defense held Dixon in check and the offense got another chance and this time, quarterback Spencer Franceschetti linked up with Danny Thompson for a 35-yard touchdown reception. The point after attempt was blocked, but Cougars had a 16-0 lead with 4:39 to play in the opening half.

They made it 22-0 at the half with a touchdown run by Steve Silva in the closing seconds, going in from 5 yards out. The point after was no good, but there were only 17 seconds left in the first half and Dixon didn't have time to get anything going.

The final first half touchdown was set up by an Izzy Ruiz interception, getting back a ball the Rams had intercepted a couple of plays previously.

Second half scoring for Escalon included a 32 yard field goal by Diniz and a 15 yard run from Silva, with the point after attempt good.