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Spartans face uphill battle with Escalon

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POSTED September 2, 2010 2:36 a.m.
If the Lathrop Spartans are able to win their season opener it would be the biggest victory in school history. If the Escalon Cougars come into Lathrop and fall to the Spartans it would ruin the perennial powerhouse’s season in week one.

Lathrop will have to put together a near-perfect contest to give the Cougars their first season-opening loss in the past 10 years.  Escalon made it to the second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV Football Championships a season ago, losing to the eventual section champion Modesto Christian Crusaders.

“They are a good program,” Lathrop head coach Jesse Rodriguez said. “We know they are going to come out here and they are going to execute and do all of the little things. We need to get ready for that for the VOL.

“Our whole league is tough, so it doesn’t do us any good to play cupcakes.”

Rodriguez is quite aware of the success that the Cougars have amassed in recent memory, and running from these types of opponents is not in his pedigree. The Spartans are quite aware of the task in front of them, but the objective for this team is to try and continue to get better with every week.

“Against anybody, we really just want to try and get out of there healthy,” Rodriguez said. “That’s most important and secondly, I just want us to come out and play as hard as we can.

“If we are able to do that, then I will be happy.”

Ripon vs Linden
If the Ripon Indians come into their week two contest with any advantage, it would have to be the fact that the Indians have already tapped into the adrenaline of the 2010 season, whereas the Linden Lions are making their season debut.

Ripon will look to rebound from a 22-15 loss to the Ceres Bulldogs in their opener, and extract revenge from the Lions after their 25-21 victory over Ripon a season ago. That game saw the Indians storm back with a pair of unanswered touchdowns in the final period, but simply ran out of time.

Ripon starting quarterback Alex Gustin had his way with the Lions last year, braking loose for 130 yards on just 12 carries. Gustin added a pair of rushing touchdowns, and will likely need the same caliber of performance if the Indians are going to improve to 1-1.

Linden closed last season with a 5-5 mark and will open this season without the services of last season’s leading scorer and superb wideout Aaron Judge. Linden will turn to the play of 5-foot, 11-inch returning leading ground gainer Jeremy Powers.

Linden will undoubtedly give Ripon another thorough matchup, making its quest for victory No. 1 an extremely challenging test.
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