With a halftime lead of 35-0, the final was 48-14 in Escalon’s favor on Friday night, April 16, the varsity football team putting away the Sierra Timberwolves.
It was the final game in the shortened season, observed as Senior Night with recognition for senior players and cheerleaders, and a satisfying way to end a very short campaign.
Escalon took control early, rolling up 129 yards of offense in the first quarter compared to 23 for Sierra. But, the odd statistic was that there were no touchdowns and no field goals in that quarter. The Cougars did have a drive stopped in the red zone, about 2 yards from the goal line, and Sierra took over on downs.
So after a scoreless first quarter, it looked like it might shape up to be a defensive battle.
But the floodgates opened for the Cougar offense in the second quarter and they went on a scoring binge, hanging 35 points on the board against a bewildered Timberwolves squad.
“That second quarter was a blitzkrieg,” agreed head coach Andrew Beam. “It snowballed in a hurry; we had two interceptions in that quarter and a fumble recovery by Eli Lattig.”
The first touchdown of the night came on a 3-yard run by sophomore Logan Anderson – who got a celebratory ‘lift’ from older brother Luke, a senior, after notching the first varsity touchdown of his Cougar career. The kick by Brayan Barrientos was good for a 7-0 lead. After a Luke Anderson interception, Matthew Baptista scored on a 36-yard run and the kick was good to make it 14-0. Luke Anderson then scored on a 20-yard run, kick good, to go up 21-0 ad Logan Anderson added his second touchdown of the night on a 22-yard catch, kick good, for a 28-0 Escalon lead. Rounding out the attack in the second quarter, quarterback Ty Harris connected on a 50-yard catch and run play to sophomore Owen Nash, going in for the touchdown. Barrientos again notched the point after and, with a couple of minutes left in the second quarter, it was 35-0 Escalon.
It was just after a Logan Anderson interception that the stadium lights and scoreboard went dark; the sun had not fully set yet so the field wasn’t in complete darkness. After a couple of minutes, the referees declared the first half over and sent the teams to the locker room for halftime.
The lighting situation was resolved during the break, the teams coming back on the field for the second half.
“Our defense was playing awesome, our offense was hitting its stride,” Beam said of enjoying the game. “Our defense again had an outstanding game.”
In the second half, Sierra avoided the shutout by scoring a touchdown in the third with the extra point to make it 35-7 but Escalon countered with a 15-yard run by Baptista, kick blocked, to extend the lead to 41-7.
Sierra completed a passing play for a touchdown with the kick good in the fourth, still trailing 41-14, and the Cougars capped the night with an 11-yard run from senior Luke Anderson, scoring his final touchdown as a Cougar. The kick was good for a 48-14 victory.
“We had 536 yards of offense compared to 155 for Sierra; pretty dang impressive,” Beam said. “We knew against Ripon (10-7 win) our offense did not play up to its capability; we wanted to make a statement offensively this week.”
Harris was 8-for-13 for 157 yards and two touchdowns. Luke Anderson had 19 carries for 197 yards and two touchdowns with an interception on defense. Matthew Baptista had nine carries for 125 yards and two touchdowns; Logan Anderson had one rushing and one receiving touchdown along with an interception. Owen Nash had a touchdown reception and Eli Lattig had a fumble recovery to set up a score.
Defensively, Shane Campbell had nine tackles, one sack and a forced fumble. Caden Gonsalves had seven tackles and a sack, with seven or eight more players adding two to four tackles each. Isael Gallo and Preston Ball combined for a sack.
“They just couldn’t stop us, they couldn’t slow things down,” Beam said of Sierra getting steamrolled once the Cougars got their game in gear. “We just applied the pressure in that second quarter, 35 points, three turnovers … this is a team I think was only going to get better.”
In the COVID-shortened season, Beam said his Cougars didn’t get an opportunity to prove how good they could be, but he was happy that the seniors got to leave Engel Field as winners.