COSTA MESA — While their coach ditched his prescribed crutches soon after kickoff, Estancia High freshman football players had their
The Eagles scored on their first possession of each half and went on to claim an 18-0 victory in the Mini Battle for the Bell, also the Orange Coast League opener for both teams, at Jim Scott Stadium.
Tailback Tyler Chacon led the offense with 78 yards on 13 rushing attempts for Estancia (2-4, 1-0 in the Orange Coast League) and the defense posted its second shutout of the season with a dominant performance.
Costa Mesa (2-4, 0-1) managed zero yards rushing after halftime (16 attempts) and finished with 100 total yards while suffering its fourth straight shutout.
Inside linebacker Jordan Aviles, who regularly found his way into the Mustangs' backfield, took the ball from the quarterback, who was in the midst of handing off, and returned the fumble 53 yards for a touchdown just two plays after Costa Mesa recovered an onside kickoff to open the second half.
Tackle Juan Lozada, end Will Huipe and linebacker Sam Cruz recorded sacks for Estancia, for which Aviles, Omar Gutierrez, Konrad O'Daly, D.J. Davis and Huipe also made tackles for losses.
Cesar Andrade intercepted a pass for the Eagles, for whom Juan Colin and Israel Arroyo-Avonce were also defensive playmakers.
"I'm really happy for these guys," said Estancia Coach Tim Sweet, who underwent surgery Tuesday to remove an errant piece of a left-
Sweet said he felt similarly duty bound, despite noticeably hobbling a little more than 48 hours after surgery.
"I have to be out here for [the players]," said Sweet, who noted he was medically cleared to coach on crutches that sat leaning against the bench most of the game. "It's all about accountability with these guys. That's what I teach them and that's the kind of thing I have to stand by. I couldn't be away from the team."
The Eagles could not be held out of the end zone from the outset. After a 10-play Mesa procession that could not overcome a 27-yard holding penalty, Estancia marched 64 yards on 12 plays, 10 of which were bruising runs by Chacon and/or Cruz.
Chacon eventually capped the march with a one-yard touchdown run, but the first of three two-point conversion attempts failed with about eight minutes left before halftime (official time was kept by the officials on the field).
Estancia, which did not complete any of its three pass attempts, produced four of its seven first downs on that first possession.
The Mustangs, led by quarterback-tailback Daniel French (31 yards on 16 rushing attempts and 56 yards passing on two completions), went from their own eight-yard line to the Estancia eight before time ran out in the first half. The final play was a 35-yard bomb from French to Cameron Curet.
Choosing to try to capitalize on the late first-half momentum, the Mustangs executed an effective onside kick that was recovered by French at the Eagles' 47 to start the third quarter.
But after a fumbled snap gained two yards, Aviles turned the tide with his fumble recovery for a touchdown.
Costa Mesa did not get past the Estancia 43-yard line the rest of the way.
French, inside linebackers Helper Kisino and Ryan Lather, as well as end Mason Tufuga and Charles Tino all stood out defensively for the visitors.
Curet had two receptions for 56 yards.
Estancia finalized the scoring when Aviles powered seven yards off right tackle early in the fourth quarter. It is the first time all season that the Eagles' offense produced more than one touchdown, said Tim Parsel, the Eagles' offensive coordinator.
It's Estancia's fifth triumph in the last six meetings between the freshmen cross-town rivals.
"Our guys came together and gelled as a team," Sweet said. "The timing is crucial, because this is the time of year when you need everybody to be firing on all cylinders."
Estancia fumbled four times but recovered each one.
Costa Mesa Coach Byron Williams said his team's offensive struggles began when tailback Mason Mataafa went down with a
"We'll just go back to practice and back to the drawing board to try to figure out what's going on," Williams said.
Estancia 18, Costa Mesa 0
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Costa Mesa 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 — 0
Estancia 0 – 6 – 6 – 6 — 18
Est – Chacon 1 run (pass failed).
Est – Aviles 53 fumble return (run failed).
Est – Aviles 7 run (pass failed).
CM – French, 16-31.
Est – Chacon, 13-78, 1 TD.
CM – French, 2-6-1, 56.
Est – Crown, 0-2-0; de la Torre, 0-1-0.
CM – Curet, 2-56.