Ocean View High senior quarterback Braden Crabtree was firmly in the grasp of Estancia High senior linebacker Mario Mondragon.
The fourth-and-one quarterback sneak seemed destined to fail, giving the Eagles the ball back down just five points late in the fourth quarter. But Crabtree never stopped moving his legs.
“I just knew I wasn’t going down,” Crabtree said. “I was not going to let them take me down. Then I thought the whistle was going to blow, and the whistle didn’t blow. I was just like, ‘I’ve got to reach it out.’ I reached as far as I could and I got it, so it felt pretty good when I got back up.”
The second effort gave the Seahawks a first down at the Estancia 25-yard-line with about two minutes to go. The gritty play not only helped secure Ocean View’s 12-7 nonleague football victory at Orange Coast College, but it seemed symbolic of a game in which nothing seemed to come easy.
Crabtree threw for 187 yards and two touchdowns for the Seahawks (3-1), a 10-yard score to Brandon Alcaraz and a 22-yard strike to Michael Da Rosa that converted a fourth-and-10 situation. But Ocean View also hurt itself throughout the game, compiling 14 penalties for 115 yards.
“Today was really bad,” Ocean View coach Luis Nuñez said. “It makes it impossible on offense to get into any rhythm when you’re constantly shooting yourself in the foot. We’ve just got to get better. We’re not a very good football team right now. Like I told the kids, it’s not that we can’t be a good football team; we’re just doing it to ourselves. We have to do little things better. We’re a young football team, and we have time to get better, that’s the good thing. We’ll try to keep working.”
Ocean View blanked Estancia (1-3) into the fourth quarter. The Eagles nearly scored on fourth down, but a pass from sophomore quarterback Cameron Knickerbocker to junior Tony Valdez was bobbled in the end zone and ultimately dropped, causing a turnover on downs.
Estancia immediately got it back, as Ocean View fumbled on its next play from scrimmage and the Eagles’ Nathan Zalpa recovered.
Estancia then finally found the end zone as a quick inside handoff to Nathan Pacheco resulted in a 16-yard touchdown, pulling the Eagles within 12-7 with 9:20 remaining in the fourth quarter.
But the Eagles couldn’t do much on their two ensuing drives. The last one started at their 17 with just 21 seconds remaining. Knickerbocker completed passes to Taylor Demarais and Beto Sotomayor to get the ball to the Estancia 40 with two seconds left, but a pass over the middle was incomplete on the final play of the game.
Estancia coach Mike Bargas said the Eagles are so young this year, they don’t even have a two-minute-drill offense in place as they have in years past.
“Every week we get a little bit better,” said Bargas, whose team plays at Laguna Beach on Sept. 27. “The problem is, we’re just kind of inching. It’s going to get harder as we get into league, especially against Orange and Santa Ana, but the defense has been playing consistently really well. We’re playing catch-up on offense.
“We have a very good JV team that’s playing varsity football. Tonight, we played hard against Ocean View. Our kids just have to grow up fast at Estancia. One thing is that we’re not afraid, and that’s a good thing. We may come out a little flat, but our kids are not afraid to play football.”
Sophomore running back Anthony Ramirez had 18 carries for 96 yards for Ocean View, which will likely need to play better when it hosts Dana Hills (4-0) on Sept. 27.
“It’s hard enough to get 10 yards off of plays, especially in football with the physicality,” Crabtree said. “But when you start first-and-20, first-and-15, it’s pretty impossible to get it. We’ve just got to work on not panicking when [the defense] gives us something different up front.”
Ocean View 12, Estancia 7
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Ocean View 0 – 6 – 6 – 0 — 12
Estancia 0 – 0 –0 – 7 — 7
OV – Alcaraz 10 pass from Crabtree (kick blocked), 4:15.
OV – Da Rosa 22 pass from Crabtree (kick failed), 6:32.
E – Pacheco 16 run (Avila kick), 9:20.
OV – Ramirez, 18-96.
E – Sotomayor, 24-72.
OV– Crabtree, 17-24-0, 187, 2 TDs.
E – Knickerbocker, 7-12-0, 33.
OV – Alcaraz, 6-75, 1 TD.
E – T. Valdez, 4-26.
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