Escalon High takes care of busi­ness; re­match against Hil­mar up next

The Modesto Bee (Sunday) - - High Schools - BY BRIAN CLARK bclark@mod­bee.com

Escalon High did what its coach asked — fo­cus on the here and now.

With po­ten­tial matchups against Hil­mar and Modesto Chris­tian loom­ing — the two teams that have kept the Cougars from an un­beaten sea­son — Escalon paid at­ten­tion to the im­me­di­ate task at hand.

Us­ing its pun­ish­ing run­ning game and stout de­fense, Escalon de­feated Calav­eras 39-15 on Fri­day night in the sec­ond round of the Sac-Joaquin Sec­tion Divi­sion VI play­offs.

Up next for the Cougars is a trip to Hil­mar on Fri­day against a Yel­low- jack­ets team they lost to 20-17 in over­time in Septem­ber.

“We all wanted an­other shot at Hil­mar and Modesto Chris­tian,” firstyear Escalon coach An­drew Beam said. “But Calav­eras is too good of a team and too well­coached to look past.”

In a taut per­for­mance on of­fense, Escalon (9-2) scored on all three pos­ses­sions in the first half, and took the open­ing kick­off and drove 70 yards for a 26-0 lead.

Run­ning backs Colton Panero (11 car­ries, 65 yards two rush­ing touch­downs, one re­ceiv­ing TD), Luke An­der­son (11 car­ries, 84 yards, one TD) and Kaden Chris­tensen (eight car­ries, 59 yards and a TD) led the way. The first-team de­fense al­lowed just eight points.

“It’s a game we knew would be phys­i­cal,” said Beam, whose team beat 7-5 Calav­eras 21-7 in Au­gust. “Our de­fense was out­stand­ing and our of­fense for one of the first times was click­ing from the get-go.”

A vic­tory on Fri­day over Hil­mar — cer­tainly a tall or­der at the home of the No. 2-seed Yel­low­jack­ets (9-2), who beat Amador 44-7 on Fri­day — could re­sult in a ti­tle game against a top-seeded Modesto Chris­tian team it lost to 7- 6. First things first. Beam said he and the team are go­ing to do some heavy film study of their first meet­ing with Hil­mar.

“The boys are ex­cited we get an­other hack at them,” he said. “I don’t see there be­ing much de­vi­a­tion from the first time be­cause we know each other so well.”

JOHN WESTBERG jwest­berg@mod­bee.com

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