Escalon High School was the host site for a re­cent 7-on-7 round robin scrim­mage with in­com­ing ju­nior Lucca Du­tra shown here fir­ing off the pass while the Cougars were on of­fense. The team just com­pleted a busy few weeks of com­pe­ti­tion, wrap­ping up with an ap­pear­ance at the MJC tour­na­ment on Satur­day.

A hec­tic sum­mer of 7-on7 foot­ball has run its course for the Escalon Cougars and coaches are pretty happy with what they saw.

The squad lined up against sev­eral other area teams over the course of the past few weeks and took part in a cou­ple of tour­na­ments, wrap­ping up the sched­ule on Satur­day, July 8 at the MJC Tour­na­ment.

“We played pretty well and in our pool we only lost to Sonora, that was by one point,” var­sity head coach Mark Loureiro said of a solid ef­fort in Satur­day’s fi­nale. “We did come back and beat Hil­mar at the end of the day, that was good for the kids.”

Work­ing with a group of pri­mar­ily in­com­ing ju­niors and se­niors, a few sopho­mores also spent the sum­mer cam­paign get­ting in some valu­able work.

“We’re more ath­letic this year than last,” Loureiro pointed out. “And there is a lot of depth; that cre­ates com­pe­ti­tion.”

Split­ting the reps un­der cen­ter were Stephen Grossi and Lucca Du­tra.

“Both quar­ter­backs had their mo­ments, there’s a good com­pe­ti­tion there,” noted Loureiro. “The play of Max Ni­cholas im­proved, he just re­ally el­e­vated ev­ery time he played and Nash Sat­nat had some great games at line­backer. All the kids played well, they played hard.”

Loureiro, who spent part of his sum­mer trav­el­ing to as­sist with Wing-T camps, cred­ited JV head coach Andrew Beam and as­sis­tants Vic­tor Carrillo, Brant Rose and Brandon Hoover with keep­ing the kids ready for com­pe­ti­tion and work­ing with them in all facets of the game.

“We def­i­nitely have made a lot of im­prove­ment,” said Loureiro.

Thurs­day evening, July 6, the Cougars hosted a 7-on7 event, fea­tur­ing Cen­tral Catholic, Chavez, Sonora, Ripon Chris­tian, Water­ford, Lin­den and Escalon. The host Cougars faced off against Ripon Chris­tian, Cen­tral Catholic, Chavez and Sonora in the round robin style com­pe­ti­tion. The 20 minute ‘games’ uti­lized a for­mula where the of­fen­sive team had three downs to get the ball from the 40-yard line to the 25, two ad­di­tional downs to get from the 25 to the 10, fol­lowed by three downs to get into the end zone from the 10-yard line.

Teams had the op­por­tu­nity to run both of­fense and de­fense and Beam said the sum­mer com­pe­ti­tion has been good for both play­ers and coaches.

“We’ve had them go­ing all sum­mer, it helps on de­fense, es­pe­cially, the 7 on 7 and we’ve played just about ev­ery Tues­day and Thurs­day this sum­mer,” Beam ex­plained.

They have seen ba­si­cally the same teams all sum­mer and Beam said they have had roughly 20 play­ers each time, as the Cougars work around fam­ily va­ca­tions, fair and work com­mit­ments to get in some solid prac­tices and strat­egy ses­sions.

“I feel like this is go­ing to help, we’re gain­ing an edge for the sea­son,” in­com­ing se­nior Steven Grossi said.

From his per­spec­tive, the quar­ter­back said hav­ing the chance to work with re­ceivers and read de­fenses lin­ing up against him of­fered plenty of value and he ex­pects that to help him on the of­fen­sive side of the ball as well. He said the Delta Col­lege Tour­na­ment was most ben­e­fi­cial for him, and the team also won two games and lost one there.

“We got a lot of good ex­pe­ri­ence out of it,” Grossi said.

Safety and in­com­ing se­nior Estephan Sal­cedo agreed that the work this sum­mer should pay div­i­dends on the field come fall.

“This is giv­ing us bet­ter reads on of­fenses, it’s more of a de­fen­sive thing,” he said of what he is gain­ing through the 7-on-7 ac­tion. “We’re do­ing good, work­ing hard for this sea­son.”

Com­ing off a sea­son where they didn’t make the play­offs, the Cougars will look to get back to ba­sics and re­gain a foothold in the Trans-Val­ley League. Loureiro said what he has seen this sum­mer has given him plenty of op­ti­mism for the sea­son ahead.

“This year there’s a whole lot of depth, kids that may have had a po­si­tion last year will have to fight for it this year, that makes our prac­tices bet­ter and that means the team will be bet­ter,” Loureiro said. “We’re young in the line, we need a lot of work there be­cause we only re­turn a cou­ple of back-ups, but all the kids have been work­ing hard.”

Not only did the play­ers show up and play hard for the 7-on-7 events, Loureiro said he has also seen ded­i­ca­tion in the weight room, as the kids get ready for the fall cam­paign.

“We did have three sopho­mores up with us this sum­mer that we’re tak­ing a look at, we have a lot of ju­niors that will be push­ing the se­niors … we’ll see what hap­pens,” Loureiro said.

Escalon High School coaches talk some strat­egy while get­ting ready to line up against the next op­po­nent in a 7-on-7 scrim­mage.

Nick DeWeerd keeps his feet un­der him long enough to cross the goal line dur­ing Thurs­day’s 7-on-7 com­pe­ti­tion hosted at Escalon, scor­ing here against Ripon Chris­tian.

A pair of young Cougar de­fend­ers looks to close in on the Ripon Chris­tian ball car­rier on Thurs­day.

Up to make the leap­ing catch is Hugo Al­cala, get­ting in some valu­able prac­tice dur­ing Thurs­day’s 7-on-7 scrim­mage at EHS.

Drop­ping back to make the pass is in­com­ing se­nior Steven Grossi, look­ing for a tar­get down­field.


Af­ter catch­ing the pass, Cougar Max Ni­cholas an­gles past the Cen­tral Catholic de­fense in 7-on-7 ac­tion.

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