SANTA ANA — It took just nine seconds for the Estancia High football team to score on its first possession in Thursday night’s Orange Coast League game against Saddleback.
The Eagles were heavy favorites. Their first play from scrimmage was as good a time as any to employ some trickery.
Three juniors were involved. Starting quarterback Brad Wilson’s lateral pass went to his right to backup quarterback Levi Stillman, who hit streaking receiver Henry Vasquez with a 60-yard touchdown pass.
“My biggest concern was that I didn’t know what they were going to throw at us on the first play, if they were going to bring the whole house,” Estancia Coach Mike Bargas said. “We went a double-pass on that play … I’m thinking what if they bring the guy and hurt our quarterback or something like that? I went with the gadget play, and that’s usually not my cup of tea, but I thought I’d take the shot and it was open.”
The Eagles did not need gadgets for the rest of the game. They were still almost mechanical in their efficiency.
Estancia blanked Saddleback, 51-0, at Segerstrom High, staying in first place in league with two games to go in the Eagles’ quest for back-to-back league titles.
Defensively the Eagles (6-2, 3-0) dominated the Roadrunners (0-8, 0-3). Estancia, ranked No. 4 in the CIF Southern Section Southern Division, held Saddleback to no first downs in its first four possessions. Saddleback finally moved the chains on a trick play of its own, a double-reverse flea flicker from quarterback Eduardo Bernal to Eddie Arvizu.
By then Estancia had a 30-0 lead, the last touchdown coming after Eagles junior middle linebacker Colby Koste deflected a pass into the air deep in Roadrunners territory. Stillman grabbed it and took it 18 yards to the house.
“We were just all working as one,” said senior defensive end Andy Ugalde, who helped stop four Saddleback runs for no gain or negative yardage in the first half.
Senior safety Milton Gutierrez also had an interception for the Eagles, who possessed a potent ground attack. Robert Murtha had 112 yards on just eight carries — all in the first half — and scored two touchdowns. Fellow junior Deionte Haywood had 74 yards rushing and also added two scores.
With a running clock in the second half, the Eagles continued to move the ball behind an effective offensive line. Senior Alex Trancoso ran into the end zone untouched from five yards out late in the third quarter. Later in the fourth, usual junior varsity player Albert Tapia nearly scored on fourth-and-goal from the Saddleback nine-yard line.
Estancia sent Saddleback to its 17th straight loss. The Eagles, who have won nine straight league games dating back to 2009, play Calvary Chapel at home on Nov. 4.
“I thought the guys did a thorough job on defense and offense,” Bargas said. “We’re starting to kind of come into our own, so it’s good.”
Koste, a team captain, said he’s also happy with the Eagles’ progress.
“We’re really bringing it together,” Koste said. “We’re playing as a team and doing the things we need to do.”
Estancia 51, Saddleback 0
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Estancia 23 – 21 – 7 – 0 — 51
Saddleback 0 – 0– 0 – 0 — 0
Est – Vasquez 60 pass from Stillman (Haywood run), 9:29.
Est – Murtha 3 run (Haywood run), 4:35.
Est – Murtha 12 run (Cabrera kick), 0:22.
Est – Stillman 18 interception return (Cabrera kick), 10:29.
Est – Haywood 5 run (Cabrera kick), 6:39.
Est – Haywood 20 run (Cabrera kick), 1:00.
Est – Trancoso 5 run (Cabrera kick), 2:08.
Sad – Peralta, 2-14.
Est – Murtha, 8-112, 2 TDs.
Sad – Bernal, 3-8-2, 42.
Est – Wilson, 3-5-0, 46.
Sad – Arvizu, 1-25.
Est – Vasquez, 2-85, 1 TD.