ESCALON -- With equal parts respect and disappointment, Escalon High coach Mark Loureiro sent in his goal-line defense.
The game, which the Cougars would eventually win 56-28 over Orestimba, was well in hand, but Escalon was having no luck stopping Warriors' running back Steven Machado, whose two previous carries in the game had just gone for scores of 76 and 82 yards.
So the Cougars' defensive line beef came in, and they put nine in the box. Never mind that it was a first down, with about five minutes left in the third quarter, or that Orestimba had just returned a kickoff to its own 45.
At that point, all Escalon wanted to do was stop Machado, and it appeared the only way was a goal-line defense, even near midfield.
Three plays later, Orestimba was forced to punt. The battle was won, but Loureiro was far from satisfied at the end of the game after watching his team give up 330 yards rushing to one of the state's best backs.
"He's a very good back and a good kid who works hard and deserves everything he gets," Loureiro said. "He showed us last year that he was a good back, but we're extremely disappointed at how we played defense and how we tackled. We have to go back to Day One, and thank God our bye week is next week."
In an offensive showcase only an accountant could love, the teams combined for 1,012 yards of offense, with Escalon gaining a 585-427 advantage.
Nathan Chunn carried 24 times for 202 yards for the Cougars and scored five times as Escalon reached the end zone on eight of its nine possessions.
"Our goal was to never go three-and-out," said Chunn, who has 1,113 yards and 18 touchdowns this season. "We still have to focus more in the red zone because we get penalties."
But this Escalon team also can throw the ball, and Phillip Kimble was so efficient he approached perfection. The senior completed his first 11 passes and finished 12 for 13 through the air for 186 yards and a touchdown.
But the heart of Escalon's offense is and always will be the ground game, and on this night they rolled the Warriors for 399 yards on 47 attempts.
"You know what they're going to run on offense because they've been doing it for a quarter-century," said Orestimba coach Aaron Souza. "They're excellent at it. You watch film and you prepare and you gameplan, and the reality is how well they execute it. They beat us up front."
But there remained room for Machado's stellar performance, and the senior didn't disappoint. In addition to his long scoring runs on his first two carries of the second half, he capped the Warriors' scoring by catching a 33-yard touchdown pass from Tanner Pruett with 1:31 left in the game.
Machado now has 1,623 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns through seven games as Orestimba fell to 5-2 overall and 1-2 in the Trans-Valley League. Escalon is 5-2, 2-1.
"I thought our offensive line played a solid game and Steven is a very special player," Souza said. "Anybody who thought he was a product of our first five games, well, 330. He's proved he's a great offensive player. If we don't turn the ball over twice, maybe it's a one-score game at halftime."
Escalon turned a Warrior fumble and interception into two scores to take a 21-0 lead with 5:47 left in the first half. Machado's second long scoring run pulled Orestimba within 28-14 with 11:41 left in the third quarter, but the Warriors would pull no closer against an Escalon offense that is approaching playoff potency.
Phil was perfect throwing the ball and Nathan worked hard for everything he got inside, Loureiro said. The offense did a nice job tonight and we needed all of it. But we need to get better on defense or well be going home after a win in the first round.