LOS BANOS Ben Hood and Christian May made sure nobody will be talking about the year Escalon lost the first two games to start the season after the Cougars defeated Pacheco 35-33 in Los Banos on Friday.
Trailing 33-29 with 3.3 seconds left in the game, Hood took the snap at the Pacheco 30-yard line and rolled right, where defensive end Hunter Mendez was waiting for him. Hood planted and changed direction, scrambling to his left, and launched a hail Mary before crossing the line of scrimmage.
May reached the goal line and looked back to see Hood scrambling, and set off across the end zone, reaching Hood's pass with a dive.
"It was slow motion," May said. "The ball was in the air for, like, 10 minutes, I swear.
"I didn't want to drop it. He told me to sell the slant part and go to the back of the end zone, and if he had no one to pass to he would just throw the ball to me."
The pass ended a back-and-forth contest that Pacheco led most of the way.
Panther running backs Frank Ginda and Moffat Teneng looked to be the night's heroes when they led Pacheco on a 13-play, 67-yard drive that Teneng kept alive with a 5-yard run on fourth-and-2, and Ginda finished with a 2-yard dive into the end zone for the late four-point lead.
The drive left Escalon just 48.2 seconds to mount the winning drive.
"We replaced 18 starters (this year), and I'm proud of these kids the way they fought," Escalon coach Mark Loureiro said. "They could have quit the whole second half, so we matured big-time today."
May finished with 88 receiving yards 70 of them on Escalon's last two touchdowns and 11 rushes for 55 yards. Hood completed 6 of 9 passes for 129 yards after attempting just one pass in the first half.
Teneng kept the Pacheco offense going, finishing with 16 carries for 144 yards.