Fans of Estancia High School football: Can you say . . . destiny?
It may be the best way to explain the sudden turnaround the Eagles have experienced this season.
With a 14-9 victory over University Thursday night at Newport Harbor High School, Estancia (6-1-1 overall, 1-1-1 in league play) gained its first Sea View League victory since 1985.
With the victory, the Eagles--who before this season had won only 2 games in the last 2 years--insured themselves a winning season. But that wasn’t the only item on the ever-optimistic mind of Estancia Coach John Liebengood Thursday night.
“We want to go to the (Southern Section) playoffs, we really, really do,” he said. “Not as a wild-card entry, but as a quality representative of our league.”
Representative will be the word if Estancia continues to emulate the plays of its opponents, as it did Thursday night. The Eagles gained the lead they never relinquished by copying a nifty play University used last week against Newport Harbor.
Starting from the Trojan 48, Estancia quarterback Jeff Desandro looped a short pass to his right to Scott Boren, who then tossed a quick lateral to his left to Josh Wojtkiewicz, who sprinted through the remaining defenders, down the sidelines and into the end zone. The extra point gave Estancia a 7-0 lead.
That play, which immediately followed an interception by linebacker Dan Petrone, seemed to spark the Eagle offense.
University, meanwhile, had trouble capitalizing on its efforts, especially in the first half.
Though the Trojans outgained the Eagles in total yards, 124-84, in the first half, and had possession more than twice the time of Estancia, University managed just 3 first-half points. They came on a second-quarter, 27-yard field goal by Jim Roberson.
“They ran 16 plays in the first half, we ran 33, but they score and we don’t,” University Coach Mark Cunningham said. “We made too many mistakes, that’s all there is to it.”
Both teams started the second half with sloppy play. After helping Estancia reach the Trojan 10, tailback Gary Burrows fumbled and University’s Darren Sherman recovered. But on the next play, Roberson fumbled, and Estancia’s Dan Ucker recovered on the Trojan 15.
That set up the Eagles’ second and final touchdown, a 1-yard run by Wojtkiewicz.
Quarterback Junior Oliver scored University’s only touchdown on a 25-yard run with 9:14 remaining in the game. The Trojans had the ball for 2 more drives, but could only get as close as the Estancia 40.