For the first time in the history of the State Bowl Football Championship series, a public school will be representing the Northern section in the Division 3 contest. And that school is Escalon.
The Cougars were tapped to play in the state's D3 Bowl and will face off with the Madison (San Diego) Warhawks in a noontime game on Saturday, Dec. 18 in Carson, California.
Escalon head coach Mark Loureiro learned the news just after noon Sunday, and made the announcement at the varsity football team banquet that afternoon. The banquet was previously scheduled and news of the football season being extended for the Cougars was a welcome addition to the afternoon festivities.
"We're in deep here, it's a real good team," Loureiro admitted.
But, as he told players, parents and families attending the banquet, Escalon isn't headed to the bowl with the idea that just being there is good enough.
"Believe me, it's a shock, it's an honor, there's lots of excitement, but there's a lot of work ahead of us," he said. "This is the biggest task this program has ever taken on."
Loureiro and Escalon High School Principal Jason Maggard were on a plane early Monday morning, headed to Carson for a press conference that introduced all the teams playing in a series of games during the upcoming Bowl weekend. It was also there he was slated to exchange films with Rick Jackson, the head coach for Madison.
"This team will be prepared," Loureiro said of his Cougars being up to the challenge.
Escalon was selected to represent the North in Division 3 over Cardinal Newman, which was also in contention. Loureiro said it may have come down to the common opponent - Central Catholic - that both teams faced this year. Escalon shut out Central, 28-0, in the playoffs on their way to the Sac-Joaquin Section D4 crown, while Cardinal Newman needed overtime to eke out a 24-21 win over the Raiders earlier in the season.
"They looked at overall record, common opponent and strength of schedule," Loureiro said of the bowl selection committee.
Cardinal Newman was 11-3, Escalon was 13-1. While the strength of schedule was tougher for Cardinal Newman, Escalon got them on wins and in the common opponent.
"There were also the intangibles," added Loureiro. "No public school has ever been in the D3 game and I have to think our history, our tradition and the support of this program helped.
"Pete Saco, our CIF Section commissioner, also did a great job, he has to sell you to the committee."
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
(Courtesy of the Escalon Times written by Marg Jackson)