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Varsity Tops Hughson - Football Cougars Bounce Back With Road Win
The taste that losing to Ripon at Engel Field left in the collective mouth of the varsity football Cougars is not something they wanted to taste again.

"We had to carry that around all week, that bad taste," head coach Mark Loureiro said of opening the Trans-Valley League schedule with the loss to rival Ripon.

Even so, the coach said he wasn't quite sure what to expect when his team hit the road Friday night and headed to Hughson, taking on another league foe and longtime rival.

This time, his team came away with a win, 28-18.

"You never know what you will get," Loureiro admitted of his 2012 Cougars. "Sometimes they look really good, everything is working, then they hit those spells where it looks like we don't even know what we're doing."

Game experience and time are about the only things that will help solve that riddle, and this week, the Cougars took a step forward with the road victory.

"We played good defense except for two or three plays, gave up a touchdown on a 68-yard run but we saw some good character out of the kids, coming back from the tough loss," Loureiro said.

Nathan Chunn again was the leading man for the Cougars.

"He just keeps chugging away, he's just one of those workhorse fullbacks, he gets you those yards after contact, he falls forward, he keeps moving," said the coach.

Chunn had 27 carries for 229 yards on Friday night to lead the attack.

"We had great blocking from Alan Gonzalez, Joey Gutierrez and Alex Loureiro, who also caught a touchdown pass and had his best game of the year," Loureiro noted. "Overall it was a fairly solid effort."

Neither team got on the board in the first quarter, but Escalon struck twice in the second to take a 14-0 lead at the half.

The Cougars' first score was on a 4-yard run by Chunn, set up by a 32-yard pass completion from Phillip Kimble to Alec VonAlvensleben. Kimble then hit Loureiro with the 15-yard touchdown reception for the second score, Thomas Diniz adding the extra point each time.

"Early in the third, their running back broke free, he went sideline to sideline and made us miss tackles, he went 68 yards for the touchdown," Loureiro said.

The extra point attempt was blocked to make it 14-6, but the Huskies broke another big scoring run - this one 60 yards - at the end of the quarter to pull to within 14-12.

Escalon answered on a 1-yard run from Chunn early in the fourth, kick good by Diniz, and added a Kimble to Andrew Zavala touchdown reception from 8 yards out, kick good, to take a 28-12 lead as time started to wind down.

"We gave up a 24-yard touchdown pass late," said Loureiro.

The extra point attempt was no good and Hughson couldn't get any closer, as the Cougars took the 28-18 win. Chunn had a pair of scores to go along with his 229 yards, Kimble completed 8 of 16 pass attempts for 106 yards and two scores.

Defensively, Loureiro said Johnathon Costa had his best game so far, accounting for 13 tackles. Gonzalez had seven and Josh Redding eight, with Robbie Steves getting a sack and VonAlvensleben pulling down an interception.

Escalon had 375 yards of offense and 17 first downs, with Hughson piling up 317 yards and 12 first downs. Each team had an interception, Escalon completed 8 of 16 pass attempts for 106 yards, Hughson was 9 of 12 for 96 yards. Escalon had 269 rushing yards on 37 plays, Hughson 233 on 37 rushes. Neither team fumbled and the Cougars had six penalties for 55 yards, Hughson nine for 90.

"I was hoping to get a few more kids in but we just couldn't shake them until late," Loureiro said. "But all in all, we're happy."

The tough Trans-Valley League schedule continues this week, as the Cougars host the Orestimba Warriors in the Escalon Homecoming game, kickoff about 7:30 p.m. Friday night.