For the first time in Estancia High history, its football program will play in a CIF Southern Section semifinal playoff game.
The Eagles came from behind to edge Woodbridge, 10-7, in the Southern Division quarterfinals Friday at Irvine High. Estancia has won back-to-back postseason games for the first time.
Fourth-seeded Estancia (10-2) plays host to top-seeded Beckman (10-2) at Jim Scott Stadium Friday at 7 p.m. The two programs met on the same field on Oct. 6, with the Patriots holding on to a 12-10 nonleague victory.
Both teams weren't at full strength back then. Beckman played without standout running back Jeff Kim and Estancia had Ben Beck (foot), a wide receiver and defensive back, Levi Stillman (knee), a receiver and cornerback, and linebacker Colby Koste (leg) out.
Kim is back and so are Beck, Stillman and Koste.
Corona del Mar High is in the midst of another deep playoff run. The Sea Kings made the CIF Southern Section Southern Division semifinals for the third time in four years by defeating Los Amigos, 45-7, on Friday in a quarterfinal game at Jim Scott Stadium.
Each time, the Sea Kings have encountered little resistance in the quarterfinals.
CdM defeated Laguna Beach, 41-0, in the 2008 quarterfinals. Last year in the quarterfinals, CdM rolled past Anaheim, 24-0.
But each year, CdM was tripped up in the semifinals, losing to Mayfair three years ago and Pacific Coast League rival Beckman last year. The Sea Kings will need to beat the Breakers again Friday on the road to return to their first CIF divisional final since 1989.
One of Estancia's longest drives of the year, 15 plays that chewed 7 minutes and 40 seconds off the clock, produced the first points of the quarterfinal game against Woodbridge.
Estancia started on its own 37 with 10:08 left in the third quarter, before deciding to go for a field goal on fourth-and-four on the Warriors' 26. Dan Cabrera had tried a field goal late in the first quarter, missing from 49 yards out.
Coach Mike Bargas never hesitated bringing out Cabrera again. The junior delivered, converting a 43-yard field goal, giving the Eagles a 3-0 lead with 2:28 left in the third quarter.
One of the biggest plays during the drive came on fourth-and-four on Woodbridge's 36. The Eagles brought in Kevin Peters, a defensive tackle, and lined him up at fullback.
Peters plowed his way for a first down, gaining four yards.
Corona del Mar senior quarterback Brent Lawson made it look easy Friday night. Lawson was on his way to setting another single-season passing mark at CdM.
His 2,341 passing yards this season have surpassed Taylor Hughes' mark of 2,204 yards set in 2006. Lawson also has 25 touchdown passes, which surpasses Hughes' previous standard of 22.
Lawson completed eight of 14 passes for 230 yards and two touchdowns Friday. He completed six passes of 30 or more yards, including two each to Josh Giger and Matt English and one to Chris Johnstone and Cole Cottrell.
Lawson thanked his offensive line, his receivers and CdM offensive coordinator Kevin Hettig.
"I'm excited about it," Lawson said of setting the records. "I mean, I have so many weapons. It has been a great way to end my senior year, and it has just been so much fun … A lot of guys touch the ball, and Coach Hettig is just awesome. Honestly, he's more like one of my good friends now. We basically take what they give us. We find the soft spots [in the defense] and I just try to do as little as I can, just try to do my job to get the ball to [the receivers]."
Estancia quarterback Brad Wilson failed to complete a pass in his first seven attempts in the first half against the Warriors.
He completed his first two passes in the second half and finished three for six in the final two quarters.
The biggest throw was a 31-yard hook-up with junior receiver Henry Vasquez midway through the fourth quarter. The play set up running back Robert Murtha's six-yard touchdown run, putting Estancia ahead of Woodbridge, 10-7, with 5:54 left to play.
"I keep telling [Vasquez], 'Keep working hard. We're going to hit one,'" Wilson said. "During [our] walk-through, I told him, 'We're going to need a big pass play from you.' We finally got it."
Some of Corona del Mar's freshman got an invaluable chance to play in a playoff game Friday, as they entered in the fourth quarter of the rout.
Parker Chase, who played defensive end on the CdM freshman team this year, made a tackle for no gain. Bo St. Geme, who played quarterback for the CdM frosh, also made a tackle and nearly intercepted a Los Amigos pass in the closing minutes.
The CdM freshman team went 10-0 this year and outscored opponents by a combined 427-31.
"We bring them up and they're practicing all week, so it's great to be able to get them in the game and reward them," CdM Coach Scott Meyer said. "It's a great group of freshmen, too. We're lucky to have them."
Before Friday's win, Estancia was 0-4 all-time against Woodbridge.
The last time two Newport-Mesa football teams were in the CIF semifinals, Newport Harbor and Corona del Mar met in the 1992 game known as the Battle of the Bay II. Newport Harbor won the Division IV contest.
The last Newport-Mesa team to reach the CIF championship game was the 2005 Newport Harbor squad that captured the school's third section title in Division VI.
— From staff reports