After falling to the top-ranked Lodi Flames 12-7 in the final of the Lodi Tournament earlier this season, Escalon’s varsity flag football girls showed how far they have come. They shut out the Flames 13-0 in competition on the road Wednesday, Sept. 6.
“Our girls certainly bought it,” head coach Steve Largent said of putting the emphasis on growth as opposed to revenge. “It got started with Violette Kent getting an interception on Lodi’s first offensive drive, which really set the tone for the rest of the game. That early interception put everyone in red and while on notice that the Cougars were here to play.”
Midway through the first half, Sammy Lang scrambled from 15 yards out and found the corner pylon, putting Escalon on the board. The next possession for the Cougars saw Lang hit Rayah McNulty with a 45-yard pass.
“An unbelievable throw, under pressure, Lang kept her eyes downfield and McNulty got behind the defense and reeled it in for the score,” Largent said.
Halftime, it was 13-0 Escalon and the mantra for the second half, said the coach, was leaning on the defense, looking for them to play the same as they did in the first half and knowing that would lead to a win.
“We can’t be more proud of our defensive effort,” Largent said. “Even if they may not have a stat recorded, they flew around and defended every blade of grass.”
Alyssa Ball had eight flag pulls, Hannah Wampler added five; Andrea Fuentes-Calderon had three flag pulls and one pass deflection; Saraii Correa had one sack and one pass break up.
“We had a goal line stand that prevented Lodi from getting on the scoreboard and even though the game was already in hand, the defense wanted the shutout and wanted to take pride in leaving a ‘0’ on the scoreboard underneath the home side,” Largent said.
The JV girls took a loss on Wednesday, their first of the year, to Lodi.
“We had a few big plays called back in the first half for ‘flag guarding’ and stalled a few drives,” head coach Joseph Dalpogetti said. “They were able to score once and get the 2-point conversion so we were down 8-0 at the half. In the second half we had a hard time moving the ball again and Lodi added another score but we stopped them on the conversion so we were down 14-0.”
A score in the final seconds helped Escalon avoid the shutout.
“Tyli Holback connected with Adrianna Romero for a TD,” Dalpogetti said, though the JV girls took the 14-6 loss.