RIPON -- For one brief moment, the football teams of Escalon High and Ripon Christian were on equal footing.
It came midway through the first quarter of Saturday night's game, when at the end of a lengthy Escalon drive the Knights stepped up and stopped the Cougars on fourth and goal from the 4.
Enough with the moral victories.
Escalon went on to score easily on its next six possessions to open Trans-Valley League play with a 42-6 victory over the Knights at Ripon High. The Cougars improved to 6-0 in this weekend's lone battle of unbeatens, and Ripon Christian dropped to 5-1.
"We did what we had to do, and it was like punching a clock at the factory," Escalon coach Mark Loureiro said. "We wanted to come out of here healthy and execute and keep some momentum rolling. We made some mistakes and we didn't have a lot of fire, but we had enough to get us through tonight."
The Cougars rolled up 306 yards rushing, including 115 on nine carries by Charlie McDonald, and outgained RC 353-144. The highest level of domination came in the middle two quarters.
Escalon opened the scoring on the first play of the second quarter on a 6-yard pass from Spencer Franceschetti to Blake Neyer, and the floodgates flew open. The Cougars added three more scores before halftime, on runs by Izzy Ruiz and McDonald, and on a pass from Franceschetti to Danny Thompson.
The Cougars opened the third quarter with two more quick scores -- runs by Ruiz and McDonald -- before substituting liberally against the fatiguing Knights with a 42-0 lead in hand.
"We have a bunch of kids who come and play hard," Ripon Christian coach John Vander Schaaf said. "Tonight, they were overmatched, but on Monday they'll come out and practice and get back at it."
The Knights, who had 20 players in uniform, started with a quarter to build on and finished with a quarter to grow on. In addition to the scoreless first quarter, the Knights spoiled Escalon's shutout bid when Will Heersink broke loose for a 45-yard scoring run with 2:37 remaining in the game.
"They have to find victories in the loss, and that was one for them," Loureiro said in reference to the Knights' goal-line stand in the first quarter. "We weren't crisp at all early. Our backs ran tall, and I think they took things for granted. I give Ripon Christian credit for the amount of fight they had, but we eventually wore them down."
Le GRAND 33, DENAIR 14, at Le Grand -- Tony Ortegon rushed for a school-record 308 yards and four touchdowns Friday night to lead the Bulldogs (3-3) past the Coyotes (0-6) in the teams' Southern League opener. Ortegon scored on runs of 13, 63, 37 and 10 yards.
Bee staff writer Brian VanderBeek can be reached at email@example.com or 578-2300.