In the week leading up to Friday’s Orange Coast League opener, Estancia High football coach Mike Bargas, defensive coordinator and assistant head coach Dave Holland and the rest of the staff developed a plan to counter Laguna Beach’s deceptive Wing-T offense.
The Eagles defense limited a Laguna rushing attack that had gone for 2,083 yards and was averaging 416 yards per game, to a mere 133 in the visitors’ 35-14 victory.
The Breakers’ top back, Drake Martinez, the younger brother of Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez, came into the game with 861 yards and a gaudy 13.3 average. Martinez went for 93 yards on 12 carries against the Eagles.
The Breakers’ Norton Penney, who came in averaging nearly 11 yards a carry, got 34 yards on eight attempts.
Estancia’s defense held Laguna nearly 40 points below its previous 53.4-points-per-game average, including zero points after halftime.
Estancia’s Alex Rodriguez’s tackle capped a goal-line stand to end the first half and Kevin Peters, Alipa Peters, Levi Stillman, Ozzy Magana, Adahir Aguilera, Deionte Haywood, Milton Guiterrez and Andy Ugalde also stood out for the Ealges’ defense.
“I thought we were out of sorts a bit in the first half while trying to adjust to all the chaos that was going on in their backfield,” Bargas said “But we did a real nice job in the second half. Laguna’s a good team and to hold that offense to just 14 points is something.”
It took Costa Mesa High senior running back Mario Smith just six games to reach the 1,000-yard mark in rushing.
Smith has 1,050 yards after Mesa’s 59-7 win over Godinez in an Orange Coast League opener Friday. He has needed just 104 carries to get there, an average of 10.1 per carry.
Smith had a season-high 226 yards and three touchdowns against Godinez, including touchdown runs of 68, 65 and 60 yards. The transfer from Silverado High in Victorville added to his season total of 12 touchdowns, including at least one in every game.
Costa Mesa Coach Wally Grant was around future pros like DeShaun Foster and Frostee Rucker while he was defensive coordinator at Tustin High, as well as current Stanford running back Anthony Wilkerson. Grant had high praise for Smith.
“Mario’s got the ability to do what those young men are doing,” Grant said. “Now, putting them in that class is a lot, because they’ve accomplished what they were supposed to accomplish in high school. They’ve accomplished it in college, and now they’re doing it on Sundays. Mario has the tools, Mario has the work ethic, and we’ll see where the chips fall.”
Grant said Smith has legit 4.4-second speed in the 40-yard dash and he is the fastest kid Grant has ever been around.
Smith is Costa Mesa’s first 1,000-yard rusher since D.J. Lepper ran for 1,072 yards in 2006.
Corona del Mar, ranked No. 1 in the CIF Southern Section Southern Division, used its defense to edge then-No. 7 Northwood, 17-10, in a Pacific Coast League opener Thursday at Irvine High.
The Sea Kings (5-1, 1-0 in league), who are unbeaten in their last six league games, sacked Northwood quarterback Ricky Bautista 10 times, intercepted him once and forced him to fumble.
Bautista, last year’s league Offensive MVP, went into the game having thrown for more than 300 yards in three of his previous four games. The Sea Kings held him to 218 yards and one touchdown on 18-of-23 passing.
Aaron White, a senior outside linebacker, sacked Bautista on back-to-back plays, the last near midfield on fourth-and-27 to end the game.
“I’m not really a stat guy,” said White, who finished with four sacks. “I’m just about the team.”
Newport Harbor opened Sunset League play with a 33-7 home victory against Fountain Valley on Friday.
The Sailors are 5-1 in Sunset League openers under Coach Jeff Brinkley.
“They’re all big in this league,” said Brinkley, whose Sailors (3-3, 1-0 in league) travel to Huntington Beach (5-1, 1-0) on Friday.
“We’ve seen [the Oilers] play already [against Corona del Mar] and a couple of other [teams]. They’ve got all their guys back. I know they’re expecting big things.”
It’s difficult to suggest that the absence of Coach J.R. Tolver (serving one-game suspension after being ejected for arguing with officials the previous week) was a distraction for Sage Hill School players in their 42-20 nonleague home loss Friday against Firebaugh of Lynwood.
But it clearly did not help. The Lightning appeared listless and lacked focus from the start. And the Falcons took full advantage, surging to a 28-0 lead with 10:25 left in the first half.
Bargas gave a special shout out to his scout team that included Jesus Guzman, Cole Mensinger, Mackenzie Collins, Dan Cabrera, Brad Wilson, Robert Sullivan, Alvaro Alejandre, Avery Raphoon, Seth Bargas, Hector Sotomayor, Alex Haeger, Raydan Maae and Hector Hernandez.
“These players ran Laguna’s formations and emulated what we thought they would do,” Bargas said. “They really did a great job in helping us get ready for this game.”
The Mustangs kept its starters in for about three quarters Friday. Grant said his players needed the work, because they’re likely going to have to play four quarters down the road in league against Laguna Beach and Estancia.
Already this year, Grant had pulled his starters at halftime of blowout wins over Santiago and La Quinta.
“Tonight, we got tired as that second quarter ended,” Grant said. “I’m not trying to run up scores. I’m not trying to be unsportsmanlike, but my kids have got to play three quarters of football regardless of the score. I apologize to [Godinez Coach] Aron [Kaye]. This was by no means disrespectful to him or his program, but we played a great game tonight.”
Corona del Mar running back Erik Fisher battled second-half cramps and produced 120 of his 157 yards and one of his two touchdowns in the final two quarters.
Fisher’s biggest yards came on a 15-play drive that consumed 7 minutes, 15 seconds off the clock in the fourth quarter. The senior gained three first downs and 36 yards.
The Sea Kings settled for a 41-yard field goal by Luke Napolitano with 3:10 left to play that upped their lead to 17-10.
Newport Harbor saw the return of senior guard Ted Barry and junior running back Talalelei Teaupa last week.
Barry missed the previous three games with a broken fibula and Teaupa was out since the start of the season with a broken collarbone.
Barry started against Fountain Valley, while Teaupa got a couple of carries late.
“He’s still I wouldn’t say 100 percent … but at least he got to play,” Brinkley said of Barry.
“It’s great to have [Teaupa] back. He gives us depth at tailback as well as at safety. He’s a good football player.”
Evidence of Sage Hill’s improved focus in the second half was a third-quarter anomaly.
The Lightning went 70 yards on 16 plays with the second-half kickoff to produce a touchdown that pulled them within 34-13 with 3:39 left in the quarter.
After recovering the ensuing onside kickoff, Sage ran seven more plays, finishing off a quarter in which Firebaugh’s offense did not run a single play, before the Falcons intercepted at their own one-yard line on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Costa Mesa is rotating kicking duties between senior Peter Marquez and junior Jake Lux.
Friday, it was Marquez’s turn. He made all eight of his conversion kicks, and easily nailed a 46-yard field goal. His kickoffs were routinely into the end zone.
“They both kick it in the end zone on kickoffs, they both kick field goals and PATs,” Grant said. “To who am I supposed to say, ‘You won the battle?’ Right now it’s not broken, and I’m not going to fix it. I’m too superstitious.”
—From staff reports