Jaycen Cash was money for Estancia High’s football team on Thursday night.
In a battle of dual-threat quarterbacks, Cash led the visiting Eagles to a 55-21 victory over La Quinta at Bolsa Grande High.
The versatile junior used his legs and left arm to help Estancia improve to 2-0 in nonleague play. Cash completed all six of his passes for 83 yards and three touchdowns, and he rushed seven times for 136 yards and two scores.
“I feel I could make better decisions,” Cash said. “Sure, I was six for six, but next time I need to be seven for seven.”
Cash’s efforts staked coach Mike Bargas’ Eagles to a 21-0 cushion in the first quarter. La Quinta senior quarterback Michael Nadeau stabilized his team with an array of backfield improvisations and deep throws.
“That’s a good football team we just played,” Bargas said of the Aztecs, who dropped to 0-2. “They made the [CIF Southern Section Division 13] semifinals last year with [Nadeau]. We just needed to make some adjustments on defense to stop him.”
After a red-zone interception by Estancia’s Ryan Carrillo the drive before, Nadeau completed three straight passes for 45 yards, including a 31-yard fly route to Trung Huynh to cut the deficit to 21-7.
Estancia star running back Trevor Pacheco, who sprinted out of the gate with a 71-yard scoring jaunt on the first play from scrimmage, fumbled at the La Quinta 15-yard line minutes into the second quarter. The giveaway was just about the only mistake for the senior, as he had 16 carries for 248 yards.
Nadeau took advantage, spinning out of a sack and lofting a 38-yard toss to Dominic Amador. A few plays later, he pump-faked and launched a 32-yard rope to Huynh again to make it a one-score contest.
Pacheco and Cash seized control for Estancia once more, as the former moved the chains after two runs. Cash rumbled on a run-pass option for 41 yards, then found Nathan Guyot alone in the corner of the end zone for a 25-yard score.
A Nadeau two-minute drill fell short inside the 20-yard line to end the half at 28-14. He finished 11 of 26 passing for 183 yards and two touchdowns.
Despite some late struggles from the defense, Bargas remained calm under pressure.
“Sometimes our defense sputters and the offense needs to pick up the slack,” he said. “Sometimes it’s the other way around. I told our guys that they needed to stay the course, and they kicked it into high gear once we got back on the field.”
Estancia took back the momentum in the first two drives of the second half. The defense — led by linebacker Gannon Griffin’s 10 tackles — forced a three-and-out. Griffin also recovered a fumble in the first half, his second on the year after snagging one against Loara last week.
Pacheco’s younger brother, Nathan, chipped in five tackles. Damian Valdez had three tackles with one for loss.
Hayden Pearce and the offense took it from there. He used just two plays to boost the lead to 34-14, the first a weaving punt return and the second a 20-yard tunnel screen touchdown from Cash.
After a La Quinta turnover on downs, Pacheco and Cash iced the game with a 94-yard drive on five straight runs.
The Eagles have already matched their win total from their 2-8 2017 campaign. They return to Garden Grove on Sept. 7 to face Santiago at Garden Grove High.
“We were a good football team last year,” Bargas said. “This year, watch them prove it to all the Eagle alumni.”
Estancia 55, La Quinta 21
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Estancia 21 – 7 – 13 – 14 — 55
La Quinta 7 – 7 – 7 – 0 — 21
E – T. Pacheco 71 run (Urquiza kick), 11:40.
E – Pearce 9 pass from Cash (Urquiza kick), 9:47.
E – Cash 6 run (Urquiza kick), 4:43.
L – Huynh 31 pass from Nadeau (Barrientos kick), :36.
L – Huynh 32 pass from Nadeau (Barrientos kick), 4:19
E – Guyot 25 pass from Cash (Urquiza kick), 2:19.
E – Pearce 20 pass from Cash (kick failed), 11:14.
E – Cash 15 run (Urquiza kick), 2:12.
L – Nadeau 7 run (Barrientos kick), 9:17.
E – M. Perez 16 run (Perez kick), 7:52.
E – Sotomayor 12 run (Perez kick), 4:55.
E – T. Pacheco, 16-248, 1 TD.
L – Nadeau, 11-62, 1 TD.
E – Cash, 6-6-0, 83, 3 TDs.
L – Nadeau, 11-26-1, 183, 2 TDs.
E – Pearce, 2-29, 2 TDs.