COSTA MESA — A 56-22 first-round playoff trouncing at the hands of visiting Beckman High made it clear just how far the Estancia football program has to go to compete with the rest of the CIF Southern Section Southern Division.
But in the immediate aftermath of the Eagles' 10th straight postseason loss since their last CIF playoff win in 1980, perhaps those rehashing the 2010 season might do better to focus on just how far Coach Mike Bargas' team came.
This edition of the Eagles swept their five Orange Coast League contests to claim the first outright league title since 1989.
It was the fourth league championship in the program's 46 varsity seasons.
With 81 yards on 24 carries against the Patriots Friday at Estancia High, sophomore tailback Robert Murtha finished his first varsity season with 1,651 rushing yards, breaking the school single-season record of 1,584 yards set by Carlos Mendez in 2007.
"We've made a lot of improvements over the year and my hat's off to our guys," Bargas said. "[The seniors] gave us their all. They're my first four-year group. They set a lot of precedents for us this season. We wanted to get this monkey off our back, but we didn't do it. We just have great kids and they played hard.
"We were just outgunned and we'll go back to the drawing board and try to get better and get past this stuff."
Additional highlights for the hosts included a 47-yard interception return for a touchdown by senior cornerback Jason Anaya and a 79-yard kickoff return by senior Matt Carlyle that set up the Eagles' second touchdown with 1:29 left in the first half.
Senior receiver Miguel Mejia scored the aforementioned touchdown on a 12-yard reception from senior John Diego.
Mejia finished with seven catches for 130 yards, most of those coming from sophomore quarterback Brad Wilson.
Wilson, who took over after halftime, completed nine of 17 for 117 yards.
Senior linebackers Eduardo Lopez and Ozzy Magana, as well as Colby Koste, stood out defensively for the Eagles, as did senior tackle Ivan Banos, senior ends Omar Gutierrez and Juan Mejia, and junior tackle Alipa Peters.
Gutierrez carried two times for 26 yards at tailback and was pressed into service on defense, due to an injury on the opening kickoff. Gutierrez, slowed by injuries this season, including sitting out a 31-0 regular-season loss to Beckman, finished his career with 21 sacks. He earned Newport-Mesa Dream Team laurels as a sophomore and a junior.
Beckman, which posted a 511-282 advantage in total offense, struck quickly in the first half, scoring touchdowns on possessions of five, four, two and two plays, in addition to returning an interception for a touchdown.
A one-yard scoring run with one second left in the first half put the Patriots (6-5) up, 42-14.
Koste finalized the scoring with a six-yard run with 4:41 left and senior George De La Torre added the two-point conversion run.
Four Estancia turnovers helped Beckman's cause, but the Eagles were, as Bargas said, in over their heads on just about every front.
Still Bargas, when asked if shifting the Orange Coast League to a less competitive division might be a prudent course, said victory was and shall remain the goal.
"I'm not going to sit and make excuses," Bargas said, calmly. "We've got to get better. That's why I scheduled these guys [Beckman] this season. We've got to find the formula to get it done. I think we can play with anybody. It's probably a little farfetched, I'd be the first one to admit it. But I have faith in our coaching staff and the players. Call me crazy, but I think we can play with these guys. We've just got to go back to the drawing board and find some creative solutions."
Jeff Kim and Zack Rivera both rushed for 150 yards for the Patriots, who for the second straight time, largely hemmed in Murtha.
Murtha broke for 53 yards on his fifth carry, but had only one additional attempt produce more than eight yards, a 14-yard pickup late in the third quarter. As was the case in the Oct. 8 meeting with Beckman, when 17 of his 24 carries went for three or fewer yards, the Patriots held him to a similar result 18 times Friday, including 11 rushes at or behind the line of scrimmage.
Beckman 56, Estancia 22
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Beckman 14 – 28 – 7 – 7 — 56
Estancia 7 – 7 – 0 – 8 — 22
Beck – Kim 9 run (Traut kick), 10:11.
Beck – Kim 5 pass from Biedgoly (Traut kick), 6:53.
Est – Anaya 47 interception return (Diego kick), 2:23.
Beck – Keprelian 26 interception return (Traut kick), 11:52.
Beck – Rivera 99 run (Traut kick), 7:54.
Beck – Kim 71 run (Traut kick), 3:04.
Est – M. Mejia 12 pass from Diego (Diego kick), 1:29.
Beck – Rivera 1 run (Traut kick), 0:01.
Beck – Dandashi 1 run (Traut kick), 1:21.
Beck – Dandashi 16 run (Traut kick), 9:28.
Est – Koste 6 run (De La Torre run), 4:41.
Beck – Kim, 15-150, 2 TDs; Rivera, 8-150, 2 TDs .
Est – Murtha, 24-81, Maldonado, 3-34.
Beck – Biedgoly, 5-8-1, 125 , 1 TD.
Est – Wilson, 9-17-0, 117.
Beck – Flores, 2-64.
Est – M. Mejia, 7-130, 1 TD.