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Escalon takes care of business against Calaveras. Up next is rematch against Hilmar

Escalon running back Kaden Christensen (3) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown during a Division VI CIF Sac-Joaquin playoff game between Escalon and Calaveras at Escalon High School in Escalon  CA on November 9, 2018.
Escalon running back Kaden Christensen (3) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown during a Division VI CIF Sac-Joaquin playoff game between Escalon and Calaveras at Escalon High School in Escalon CA on November 9, 2018. jwestberg@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 Yellowjackets team they lost to 20-17 in overtime in September.

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Escalon running back Kaden Christensen (3) hits the hole during a Division VI CIF Sac-Joaquin playoff game between Escalon and Calaveras at Escalon High School in Escalon CA on November 9, 2018. John Westberg jwestberg@modbee.com

“We all wanted another shot at Hilmar and Modesto Christian,” first-year Escalon coach Andrew Beam said. “But Calaveras is too good of a team and too well-coached 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.”

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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, though.

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.”

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Escalon’s Colton Panero (2) breaks away from a Calaveras defender during a Division VI CIF Sac-Joaquin playoff game between Escalon and Calaveras at Escalon High School in Escalon CA on November 9, 2018. John Westberg jwestberg@modbee.com

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Escalon’s Colton Panero (2) breaks away from a Calaveras defender during a Division VI CIF Sac-Joaquin playoff game between Escalon and Calaveras at Escalon High School in Escalon CA on November 9, 2018. John Westberg jwestberg@modbee.com

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Escalon quarterback Ty Harris throws a deep pass during a Division VI CIF Sac-Joaquin playoff game between Escalon and Calaveras at Escalon High School in Escalon CA on November 9, 2018. John Westberg jwestberg@modbee.com

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Escalon running back Luke Anderson (21) runs upfield during a Division VI CIF Sac-Joaquin playoff game between Escalon and Calaveras at Escalon High School in Escalon CA on November 9, 2018. John Westberg jwestberg@modbee.com

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Calaveras quarterback Zack Nordahl (12) is sacked by Escalon’s Cole Gilbert (52) during a Division VI CIF Sac-Joaquin playoff game between Escalon and Calaveras at Escalon High School in Escalon CA on November 9, 2018. John Westberg jwestberg@modbee.com

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Calaveras running back John Arbuckle (34) eyes a defender during a Division VI CIF Sac-Joaquin playoff game between Escalon and Calaveras at Escalon High School in Escalon CA on November 9, 2018. John Westberg jwestberg@modbee.com

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Escalon running back Kaden Christensen (3) hits the hole during a Division VI CIF Sac-Joaquin playoff game between Escalon and Calaveras at Escalon High School in Escalon CA on November 9, 2018. John Westberg jwestberg@modbee.com

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Escalon’s Luke Anderson (21) celebrates after recording a tackle for a loss during a Division VI CIF Sac-Joaquin playoff game between Escalon and Calaveras at Escalon High School in Escalon CA on November 9, 2018. John Westberg jwestberg@modbee.com

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Escalon running back Kaden Christensen reaches out to score a touchdown during a Division VI CIF Sac-Joaquin playoff game between Escalon and Calaveras at Escalon High School in Escalon CA on November 9, 2018. John Westberg jwestberg@modbee.com

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Escalon head coach Andrew Beam talks to his players on the sidelines during a Division VI CIF Sac-Joaquin playoff game between Escalon and Calaveras at Escalon High School in Escalon CA on November 9, 2018. John Westberg jwestberg@modbee.com

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Escalon running back Kaden Christensen (3) sprints upfield during a Division VI CIF Sac-Joaquin playoff game between Escalon and Calaveras at Escalon High School in Escalon CA on November 9, 2018. John Westberg jwestberg@modbee.com

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Calaveras’s Logan Weatherby sprints away from Escalon defender Garrett Nash during a Division VI CIF Sac-Joaquin playoff game between Escalon and Calaveras at Escalon High School in Escalon CA on November 9, 2018. John Westberg jwestberg@modbee.com

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