COSTA MESA — It had been 21 years since Estancia High last won an outright football league title.
The Eagles were in a rush Friday night to end the drought.
Estancia scored its first three touchdowns in the Battle for the Bell fast and put away Costa Mesa, 35-6, at Jim Scott Stadium, closing out an undefeated Orange Coast League season.
The Eagles ended a two-game losing streak in the rivalry game and hurt the Mustangs' CIF Southern Section Southern Division playoff hopes.
When the postseason begins next week, Estancia (6-4, 5-0 in league) will have a home game. The Mustangs' playoff fate was out of their hands. They needed to upset the Eagles to keep their chances alive.
Costa Mesa (3-7, 2-3) will miss the playoffs after Calvary Chapel defeated Godinez, 47-35. Calvary Chapel and Godinez each finished 3-2 in league and earned the league's second and third playoff entries.
While the Mustangs' postseason run ends at three years, Estancia returns to the playoffs for the second straight year.
"We were on a mission to get it done," Estancia Coach Mike Bargas said of finishing alone atop the league.
Bargas led the Eagles to a split of the league title in his first season in 2007. Estancia did not want to share anything with anyone, not even the postgame dinner awarded to the winner of the Battle for the Bell.
"We get ribs tonight," Bargas said. "It has [been a long time]."
Estancia was hungry at the start against Costa Mesa.
Two special teams' touchdowns by the Eagles and a 38-yard touchdown run by running back Robert Murtha deflated the Mustangs in the first half.
The Eagles jumped out to a 21-0 lead. Juan Mejia returned a blocked punt 23 yards for a touchdown and Matt Carlyle returned a punt 83 yards for a touchdown.
Carlyle has turned into a threat returning kicks. Last week, he ran back a kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown, the second time he has gone the distance from the eight this season.
Estancia only ran 14 offensive plays in the first half, 26 less than Costa Mesa's total.
"We kicked the [heck] out of them on offense," Costa Mesa Coach Jeremy Osso said. "We drove the ball down field."
The Mustangs moved the ball, but they turned the ball over in the red zone twice in the first half.
The only score the Eagles allowed came in the third quarter, on the opening possession. It took Costa Mesa 20 plays to find the end zone, using more than 10 minutes to do so.
Nathan Alvis scored on a one-yard quarterback sneak to cut the deficit to 21-6. Estancia blocked the extra-point kick, adding to Costa Mesa's issues on special teams.
Then on the ensuing kickoff, Carlyle gave the Eagles great field position.
The senior returned the kickoff 51 yards, setting up Estancia on the opponent's 43. The Eagles ran the ball six straight times, three players getting carries. Murtha sealed the deal on third-and-goal on the three, driving defenders back to give him his second of three touchdowns on the ground.
Murtha finished with 134 yards on 21 carries. For the season, the sophomore has 1,570 yards and 19 touchdowns. He is 15 yards shy of breaking the single-season school record.
Murtha is guaranteed one more game. He wants more than the milestone. Helping the program record its first playoff victory in 30 years is far more important.
"We just want to come out and do what we do best," Murtha said.
Battle for the Bell
Estancia 35, Costa Mesa 6
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Costa Mesa 0 – 0 – 6 – 0 — 6
Estancia 14 – 7 – 0 – 14 — 35
E – Mejia 23 blocked punt return (Diego kick), 7:37.
E – Murtha 38 run (Diego kick), 4:15.
E – Carlyle 83 punt return (Diego kick), 3:12.
CM – Alvis 1 run (kick blocked), 1:32.
E – Murtha 3 run (Diego kick), 11:55.
E – Murtha 2 run (Diego kick), 1:26.
CM – Alvis, 21-47, 1 TD.
E – Murtha, 21-134, 3 TDs.
CM – Alvis, 9-21-1, 110.
E – Diego, 1-1-0, 17.
CM – Curet, 3-41.
E – Carlyle, 1-17.