Estancia owns All-Sports Cup and meal

COSTA MESA — The spread has been the same around this time of the school year for athletes and coaches at Estancia High.

The sports seasons are done with. It was time for them to chow down on barbecued chopped beef brisket sandwiches or pulled pork sandwiches, barbecued beans and mashed potatoes on Wednesday.

The athletes and coaches have not gotten tired of the free food from the Newport Rib Co. They earned it again after beating out cross-town rival Costa Mesa for the All-Sports Cup for the third straight year.

"It's a great opportunity for our kids to kind of have something to fight for and strive for, beside just the general season," said Jessica Perry, the Estancia girls' athletic director, referring to the lunch and trophy, which Costa Mesa United has given the past three years to the overall winner of the rivalry. "We're hoping that it encourages the athletes to support other sports as well, the boys support the girls and the girls support the boys, because we're all in it together.

"It's great just to have that extra little piece of pride and it doesn't matter which teams have contributed or not. We're taking a look at it as a team effort anyway. Even if some of our teams didn't beat Mesa [you get to eat]."

The Eagles ran away with the rivalry once again. Perry said Estancia more than doubled Costa Mesa's point total.

Her girls' soccer team contributed, sweeping the two matches against the Mustangs in Orange Coast League play. The contests were never close, Estancia outscoring Costa Mesa, 11-0.

The results in baseball went to Estancia in a landslide as well. The Eagles beat Costa Mesa three times, winning by an average of 12 runs per game.

Coach Nate Goellrich finally got to taste the lunch given to the annual winner of the rivalry. Before coming to Estancia this season, he was an assistant at Costa Mesa for four seasons.

"It's pretty cool that Newport Rib does that for us, for either school that wins it," Goellrich said. "It was pretty easy there at the end [when we beat Costa Mesa, 18-0 and 18-2, in the final two games]. It's a city rivalry. You never know with those things. The first time we played them, it was a 5-3 game. We scored two in the seventh. You just never know. Now you add an All-Sports Cup. You're always playing for something, which is nice."

The Estancia football team played for history in its game against the Mustangs on Nov. 11.

The Eagles had never won back-to-back undefeated league titles. They went into the last regular-season game with a chance to close out their second straight league title with a perfect record in league.

In the way was Costa Mesa, another team trying to finish 5-0 in league.

A player who made sure the Eagles came out on top was Robert Murtha. The junior tailback rushed for 276 yards and the Eagles won, 28-14, at Jim Scott Stadium.

Back then, he and his team ate ribs from the Newport Rib Co. after taking the Battle for the Bell game and winning 11 straight league games dating back to 2009. Murtha and Coach Mike Bargas are becoming regular Newport Rib Co. eaters.

"I think sometimes these guys think it's the game of the century," Bargas said of the Battle for the Bell football game. "I think we played the game of the century when we won our first couple of [CIF Southern Section] playoff games [and reached the semifinals for the first time in the program's history].

"We're hoping to get to the finals [next season]. It has to take that perfect storm of guys to get it going. We have a lot of returning guys, but we lose some key guys, too. We lose some weight upfront. Plus, everybody's going to be gunning for us. That first [league] game we lose is going to be like [our opponent] won the Super Bowl or something like that."

Twitter: @DCPenaloza

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