Estancia Takes Latest Shutout Right in Stride

Times Staff Writer

You’d think after watching his team shut out cross-town rival Costa Mesa, 31-0, Friday night, Estancia Coach John Liebengood would have rushed onto the field as he had so many times in 1988: hooping, hollering, clapping and shouting as if he had won the Super Bowl.

But no. Liebengood was calm, quiet, and uncharacteristically subdued.


Perhaps Liebengood no longer is surprised when his team--a sad case in 1986 and 1987--puts together a victory such as Friday night’s. Perhaps he knows that his team is even better than he had believed.

“We played very, very good football tonight,” Liebengood said. “I’m pleased.”



Estancia scored 17 points in the first quarter en route to a 24-0 halftime lead. The offense looked sharp throughout the first half and was backed up by an impressive defense. From the beginning, it appeared as if Costa Mesa had little chance to win.

First, Eagle running backs Josh Wojtkiewicz and Gary Burrows had little trouble driving downfield before Wojtkiewicz scored on a two-yard run with 8:20 left in the first quarter.

Moments later, after Estancia’s defense snuffed every Costa Mesa attack, Eagle tackle Luis Alvarado blocked Costa Mesa’s punt on the Mustangs 36. Three plays later, quarterback Dan Ucker scored on a two-yard run. Estancia led, 14-0.

Costa Mesa found disaster on its next possession, as quarterback Duby Ospina fumbled and Alvarado again recovered, this time on the Mustang 20. Although Costa Mesa kept Ucker from scoring three plays later, sacking him on the 2, Alex Vazquez kicked a 25-yard field goal for a 17-0 lead.

“They (Estancia) just didn’t make any mistakes,” Costa Mesa Coach Tom Baldwin said. “I certainly take the blame for this one. I’m not blaming the kids at all.”

But Baldwin couldn’t have done anything to help the Mustangs hang onto the ball. Ospina opened the second quarter with another fumble, this one caused and recovered by Kevin Thomas.

That set up--what else?--another Estancia touchdown, this on a 13-yard pass play from Ucker to Mike Aulet, giving the Eagles a 24-0 halftime lead.

Although Estancia’s enthusiasm appeared to wane in the second half, the Eagles didn’t let up. The Mustangs had few bright spots in the game on offensive, save 15- and 17-yard gains by running back Tony Hoover who finished the game with 55 yards on nine carries.

Estancia scored its final touchdown with 8:12 remaining in the third quarter. Wojtkiewicz had a few impressive gains before scoring on a 15-yard run.

“If you would’ve told me before the game that we’d be up 24-0 at halftime, I’d have called you a liar,” Liebengood said. “But we didn’t do many things wrong. It was a fun night.”

Even without the hooping and hollering.