They played hard through the final whistle, but an undermanned Riverbank Bruins squad didn’t have enough ways to stop the host Escalon Cougars in Friday night football.
On the road at Engel Field, the Bruins fell by a 62-14 final score, trailing by an insurmountable 49-0 Cougar lead at the half. With the score at the half, there was a running clock for the third and fourth quarters and though they trailed by seven scores, the Bruins continued to fight for yardage and battled on each snap.
“I know that coaching staff and they are working hard but they are in one of the toughest leagues,” Escalon head coach Mark Loureiro said of Riverbank finding the going difficult in the Trans-ValleyLeague. “It takes two or three years of success to establish yourself in this league and it just has been tough for them to get anything going.”
Injuries and ineligibility doomed the Riverbank JV program and though a few players were taken up to the varsity, it almost looked as though the school’s cheerleading squad suited up more performers than the football team.
Riverbank finally got on the board in the final frame, quarterback Freddie Capas going in from seven yards out and then Capas making the toss to Kory Gilbert for the 2-point conversion. That made it a 55-8 game, but Escalon’s Brandon Grogan found the seam on the ensuing kickoff and returned it 99 yards for a touchdown, with the point after making it a 62-8 Escalon advantage.
The Bruins would find a way to push one more across the line late in the fourth quarter, Austin Wey going in on a 2-yard run. The 2-point conversion failed and the Cougars were able to run out the clock with the 62-14 win in hand.
For the game, Riverbank had four first downs, Escalon 12 and the Bruins had 57 total yards to Escalon’s 276. The Bruins passed for 58 yards and had 25 rushing plays for minus one yard on the ground. Escalon had 37 passing yards, and rushed 40 times for 239 yards.
Riverbank had 16 pass attempts and seven completions with one interception. Riverbank also fumbled once and lost it, and the Bruins were penalized three times for 20 yards; Escalon had four penalties for 35 yards, had no fumbles and completed 2-of-3 pass attempts with no interceptions.
For the Bruins, it ended a season that saw them nail down a pair of pre-season victories but battle through a winless TVL campaign, ending at 2-8 overall.