Estancia High senior running back Robert Murtha gave credit to his teammates after setting the Newport-Mesa career rushing record in Friday night's 24-18 nonleague football win over Sonora at La Habra High.
Murtha had 105 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. He now has 4,398 career rushing yards, surpassing Binh Tran of Costa Mesa, who had 4,333 career yards.
It was a good week for Murtha to get the record, Estancia Coach Mike Bargas said. The Eagles play cross-town rival Costa Mesa in the Battle for the Bell game on Friday night.
"I'm glad that's out of the way," Bargas said. "Now we can just go out and play football … the biggest thing is that we got a win. We were on a two-week skid, and it's nice to get a win."
With field goals of 41, 22 and 21 yards Friday, Corona del Mar senior Grif Amies has nine field goals in four games. He sat out the season opener due to transfer rules, after coming over last season from Newport Harbor.
The CdM single-season record for field goals listed in the program was seven by Brett Hughes in 1983. Amies also has the school record for longest field goal with a 52-yarder on Sept. 7 against Western. The previous mark was a 47-yarder by Brian Vaughan in 1986.
Long after his Newport Harbor High team left for the bus Friday night, Coach Jeff Brinkley and most of his staff stood near the sideline at Mira Costa of Manhattan Beach. They looked shocked.
Two breakdowns on special teams in a 13-second span midway through the fourth quarter left the Sailors with no chance to beat Mira Costa. Their first road game of the year ended with a 26-14 loss.
"We had a chance," Brinkley said. "Then we let it get away from us."
The Sailors trailed, 17-14, thanks to an 80-yard hookup between quarterback Cole Norris and wide receiver Landon Gyulay 92 seconds into the fourth quarter.
Four minutes later, the game got away from Newport Harbor (2-3).
The snap on a punt sailed over the punter's head and into the back of the end zone for a safety. Mira Costa's lead was now, 19-14.
Thirteen seconds later, the lead grew to 26-14 when Raphael Lawson-Gayle returned the ensuing free kick 69 yards for a touchdown.
Newport Harbor struggled slowing down Lawson-Gayle, who rushed 21 times for 218 yards and one touchdown.
Levi Stillman is listed as a senior wide receiver and cornerback for Estancia. The Eagles are happy that he continues to catch passes from opposing quarterbacks as well as his own.
Stillman's interception with 27 seconds left iced the Eagles' victory over Sonora on Friday night. It was his team-high fourth interception of the year, one away from his five interceptions a year ago, when he earned first-team All-Orange Coast League and Newport-Mesa Dream Team honors.
Coaches regularly tell their players to play with a working knowledge of the game situation. One official clearly did not abide by that advice on a controversial play during Corona del Mar High's 37-24 nonleague win over Cypress on Friday at Newport Harbor High.
On the play in question, CdM quarterback Cayman Carter sprinted down the right sideline for a 45-yard touchdown run that put the Sea Kings up, 10-7. Carter, with defenders closing in from behind, finished the run by leaping into the end zone, extending the ball to break the plane of the goal line. It was clear to most that the dive was anything but showboating, but rather an evasive technique to avoid being tackled from behind short of the end zone.
One referee, however, penalized Carter and CdM for unsportsmanlike conduct on the play, then defended the call to protesting CdM coaches by incorrectly stating that Carter had launched himself in an arcing, "rainbow" fashion.
The resulting protest by the CdM bench resulted in an additional unsportsmanlike call, leaving the Sea Kings to kick off from their own 20-yard line. The kickoff was caught at the Cypress 45 and returned to the CdM 40, setting up an eight-play possession that ended in a game-tying 30-yard field goal.
Costa Mesa had a bye last week, but the Mustangs made news when Coach Wally Grant signed a contract to substitute teach at the school. It is believed that by so doing, Grant became the first Mustangs head coach not to be a walk-on since Tom Baldwin guided the team in 2004.
Newport Harbor's third straight game against a CIF Southern Section ranked opponent didn't end like the first two.
The Sailors went into the game at Mira Costa, No. 7 in the Northern Division, with impressive victories against San Clemente, No. 8 in the Pac-5 Division back then, and Corona del Mar, then-No. 2 in the Southern Division.
Next for Newport Harbor is another ranked opponent, Edison (4-1), which shares the No. 1 spot in the Southwest Division with Tustin. Edison is a team the Sailors last beat in 1979.
Newport Harbor will be on the road for the second straight week when it opens Sunset League play against the defending league champion Chargers at Huntington Beach High on Thursday at 7 p.m.
"We're just going to have to get better if we're going to compete in the Sunset League," said Brinkley, whose team has finished in third place in league the previous two seasons.
Sage Hill saw its losing streak continue with a 48-8 setback against Flintridge Prep of La Canada at Occidental College on Saturday.
The Lightning are off to their first 0-6 start and are losing by an average of 29.4 points.
Dating back to last season, the Lightning have lost eight straight.
In between its only two punts of the game, CdM scored on five straight possessions, turning a 7-3 deficit into a 30-10 advantage by the first play of the fourth quarter.
The sequence included the Sea Kings cashing in three Cypress turnovers. CdM scored 10 points off two fumble recoveries and converted an interception into a touchdown during the scoring run.
Cypress, which had just two turnovers in its first four games, committed a fourth turnover when Jack Harris intercepted to end the Centurions' final possession. CdM then twice took a knee in victory formation.
Newport Harbor lost without starting quarterback Zach Wade for the first time.
Sophomore Cole Norris started for the third straight week after Wade, a senior, broke his foot in the game against Loyola of Los Angeles on Sept. 7.
"It's getting better," Brinkley said. "He's in the boot now. He's starting to move around a lot more, so hopefully he keeps making progress and we get him back. Not sure [when he will return]. The doctors had said six weeks back when it happened. It could be sooner. It could be later. We obviously hope it is sooner."
CdM senior tailback Kai Wilson, who had been sidelined since the second game on Sept. 7 with an Achilles injury, came off the bench to carry three times for two yards Friday.
Sophomore Cole Martin handled the tailback chores just fine, collecting 98 yards on 21 carries. Martin's final carry was a 10-yard touchdown.
Murtha was not the only one effective at running the ball for Estancia. Senior Colby Koste, who started at running back, had 28 yards on seven carries. And senior quarterback Brad Wilson was effective scrambling at times.
Wilson had nine carries for 59 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown run up the middle on a designed play midway through the third quarter. He also had a 21-yard run early in the fourth quarter, following a block by Dan Cabrera, that allowed the Eagles to get out of a third-and-18 hole.
Sage Hill has played three teams from outside Orange County: Mission Prep of San Luis Obispo, The Bishop's of La Jolla and Flintridge Prep of La Canada.
Sage Hill's next opponent is from a different state, as Mountain View Christian (5-1) of Las Vegas, Nev. visits Friday at 7 p.m.
Sage Hill almost had as many turnovers (six) as points Saturday, and it allowed 393 yards of total offense.
— From staff reports