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Estancia football gets back in win column against Laguna Beach

Estancia's Lucas Pacheco breaks through the defense for a big gain against Ocean View on March 12.
Estancia’s Lucas Pacheco breaks through the defense for a big gain against Ocean View on opening night of football season on March 12.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Senior night is a special night for any high school athlete, but for the Estancia High School football team and its seniors, it is a night they will remember for more than one reason.

Estancia defeated Laguna Beach 28-10 Friday at Jim Scott Stadium for its second victory of the season and its first against the Breakers since 2015.

“They’ve had our number for a while,” Estancia head coach Mike Bargas said. “We are blessed. I was telling the kids it’s been nine months to get to this point. We are so fortunate to get out here and get the win. These guys played with confidence tonight. I’m really happy for the seniors. It could’ve been nothing, but here we are on the football field.”

Appropriately on senior night, an Estancia senior stole the show.

Senior running back Lucas Pacheco ran for 301 yards, and three touchdowns on 31 carries for Estancia. The Eagles (2-3) ran only a handful of plays in which Pacheco didn’t touch the ball.

“It feels amazing,” Pacheco said. “I wish we could play like this every night. We just had a fire built up from the last couple games.”

Pacheco credits his off-the-field work for enabling him to handle such a heavy workload.

“I just do what the coaches tell us during the offseason,” he said. “I lift every day, run every day, and after practice I go home, get rest and I work out again before I go to bed.”

Pacheco wasn’t the only senior to contribute for Estancia. Luke Hutchinson, a wide receiver turned quarterback, completed a touchdown pass to sophomore receiver Oswaldo Sanchez in the winning effort. Hutchinson completed six of nine passes for 11 yards, three of which came on his second-quarter connection with Sanchez that gave the Eagles a lead they wouldn’t surrender.

“Our whole team came to perform today,” Hutchinson said. “I stepped up and I knew all the pass plays already. I knew my receivers and timing, so I knew what I could get done and we got it down tonight.”

Hutchinson, Sanchez and Dion Kerkhoff also contributed on the defensive side of the ball. Each added key interceptions, Hutchinson’s in the end zone, to thwart Laguna Beach.

Laguna Beach (1-3) relied heavily on quarterback Will Bingham, who completed 22 of 40 passing attempts for 209 yards but threw three interceptions.

Senior running back Jackson Golden had the only Laguna Beach touchdown, an 86-yard kickoff return.

The game started in a seesaw battle for field position, as Estancia and Laguna Beach traded possessions without scoring. In the waning minutes of the first quarter, Gavin Richards converted a 20-yard field goal to open the scoring and give the Breakers a 3-0 lead.

From there, Estancia took control. Following Hutchinson’s touchdown pass to Sanchez, Pacheco rattled off three touchdown runs, the longest for 69 yards to put the Eagles up 28-3.

Laguna Beach cut the Estancia lead to 18 points on Golden’s 86-yard kickoff return as time expired in the third quarter, but it would get no closer.

Despite the loss and a difficult season for Laguna Beach, Golden has valued the chance to play games in his senior season.

“It was absolutely huge when I heard the news that we would play,” he said. “Just one game would’ve made my year, the fact that we had five, win or lose, the fact that you get to play is amazing. I’m thankful for that every day.”

Laguna Beach head coach John Shanahan has seen his team’s struggles over the past few weeks carry over from one week to the next.

“We have a crisis of confidence right now as they say,” he said. “We have to get tougher. I don’t know if you can get tougher in one week, but we have to get tougher. We’ve been out of the weight room for 16 months and it shows. We’re not tough physically, we are not tough emotionally, and we are not tough mentally yet.”

Estancia wraps up their season Friday against Costa Mesa, while Laguna Beach finishes at Westminster.

Nonleague

Estancia 28, Laguna Beach 10

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Estancia 0 – 14 – 14 – 0 — 28

Laguna Beach 3 – 0 – 7 – 0 — 10

FIRST QUARTER

LB – Richards 20 FG, 0:47.

SECOND QUARTER

E – Sanchez 3 pass from Hutchinson (Guzman kick), 9:33.

E – Pacheco 6 run (Guzman kick), 1:47.

THIRD QUARTER

E – Pacheco 69 run (Guzman kick), 10:47.

E – Pacheco 3 run (Guzman kick), 0:05.

LBGolden 86 kick return (Guzman kick), 0:00.

FOURTH QUARTER

None

INDIVIDUAL RUSHING

LB – Golden 11-41.

E – Pacheco, 31-301, 3 TDs.

INDIVIDUAL PASSING

LB – Bingham, 22-40-3, 209.

E – Hutchinson, 6-9, 11, TD.

INDIVIDUAL RECEIVING

LB – Louch 7-71.

E – Demarais, 1-5.

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