High School Football: TWO-MINUTE DRILL

The 46th edition of the Battle for the Bell turned out to be one of the closest high school football rivalry games between Estancia and Costa Mesa.

The host Eagles held on to a 15-13 victory at Jim Scott Stadium Friday night, improving their record in the series to 27-18-1.

Estancia opened its Orange Coast League title defense by beating the Mustangs for the third straight year.

The Eagles and Mustangs have played to one tie, two one-point games and two two-point games since they began their rivalry in 1966.

The day after the Battle for the Bell game was Costa Mesa High Coach Wally Grant's birthday.

His team couldn't give him an early birthday gift on Friday, even though Costa Mesa dominated the game.

"We played well on both sides of the ball," said Grant, whose team outgained Estancia, 321 yards to 166. "We probably owned the time of possession. We ground and pounded [the ball for 316 yards] like I wanted. The defense played unbelievable. We gave up a long [pass play that set up Estancia's first touchdown on the game's opening drive] and [a 99-yard] kickoff return [for a touchdown in the third quarter]."

Costa Mesa (2-4, 0-1 in league) has lost two straight games.

The last time that happened was the end of last year, when the Mustangs lost the league title showdown to Estancia and then in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Southern Division playoffs to Los Amigos.

Senior quarterback Cayman Carter has been a dual threat all year for the Corona del Mar High football team. Rarely was this more true than in the Pacific Coast League opener, a 40-20 victory over University on Friday at Newport Harbor High.

Carter had 143 yards passing and 150 yards rushing. He threw two touchdown passes to Troy Reese and also rushed for a pair of scores, including a 50-yard scamper in the fourth quarter that helped the Sea Kings (4-2, 1-0 in league), ranked No. 2 in the CIF Southern Section Southern Division, put the game out of reach.

CdM Coach Scott Meyer said after the game that having Carter was almost like having another running back in the backfield. He is now averaging 100.5 rushing yards per game.

"He's a physical runner," Meyer said. "Even taking shots in the pocket or guys taking shots at him downfield, he's still able to get more yards after that initial contact."

Newport Harbor High opened Sunset League play not only losing on the road to Edison, 35-0, but also losing two players Thursday at Huntington Beach High.

The injuries suffered by senior Talalelei Teaupa (bruised kidney) and sophomore Chance Siemonsma (concussion and neck) left the Sailors without their two top tailbacks.

Teaupa went down late in the first half and Siemonsma early in the fourth quarter. Coach Jeff Brinkley said both players went to the hospital.

"Nothing's [going] to hold me back, though," said Teaupa, who missed most of last season because of a broken collarbone. "My senior year is far from over."

Siemonsma might be out two to three weeks, said a source with the team.

Newport Harbor (2-4, 0-1 in league) has played without senior quarterback Zach Wade since he broke his foot in the second game of the season against Loyola of Los Angeles. Brinkley said Wade was slated to return in a couple of weeks, but he's unsure now.

Cole Norris, a sophomore, has started in place of Wade and the Sailors are 2-2 in those games.

The Sailors play Fountain Valley (3-3, 0-1) on Friday at Huntington Beach High at 7 p.m. Newport Harbor has defeated the Barons in each of the past two seasons.

Estancia senior tailback Robert Murtha aggravated his ankle injury Friday. He left the game a couple of times after runs.

"It's just one of those nagging injuries he's going to have to deal with for the rest of the season," Estancia Coach Mike Bargas said of Murtha, who played in his second straight game since injuring his ankle against Irvine on Sept. 13.

With Murtha, the Eagles have won their last two games.

Next for Estancia (4-2, 1-0 in league) is a home game Friday against Laguna Beach (5-0-1, 1-0), which is ranked No. 3 in the CIF Southern Section Southern Division. The Eagles share the No. 10 spot with Woodbridge (2-4).

Corona del Mar was also buoyed by senior running back Kai Wilson.

Wilson, who missed two games with an Achilles injury and played sparingly in a nonleague victory over Cypress on Sept. 28, had a career-high 123 rushing yards and also scored a touchdown.

A 46-yard run by Wilson on CdM's second play from scrimmage, aided when he dodged a defender at midfield, helped set up his own two-yard touchdown run three plays later.

Corona del Mar began the game with 10 straight runs, all by Wilson or Carter. The streak lasted deep into the Sea Kings' second possession, which ended with Carter's six-yard touchdown run that gave Corona del Mar a 13-0 advantage.

Meyer said the Trojans were focusing on trying to take away the pass. Former Costa Mesa head coach Jeremy Osso is the Uni defensive coordinator.

Costa Mesa struggled with the snap, fumbling it three times in the second half.

The first time, Estancia recovered the ball on its 27-yard line with 2:10 left in the third quarter.

The next two times Costa Mesa fumbled, it happened on back-to-back plays, when the Mustangs were trying to put together a game-winning drive late in the contest.

Facing fourth-and-seven, Costa Mesa had to pass and it completed its first of the night. However, the play came up two yards short of the first-down marker.

"We've been having struggles with that all year," Grant said of the snap. "We've been working our butts off on it and we're still having issues."

Estancia quarterback Brad Wilson exited the Battle for the Bell right before halftime.

Bargas said the senior pulled his groin, but Bargas expects him back next week against the Breakers. If Wilson cannot go, Bargas will go with senior Levi Stillman again, or sophomore Ronnie Urquiza at quarterback.

Estancia has reeled off 12 straight league wins dating back to 2009. The streak in league play is the best in the program's history.

Estancia is trying to claim three straight undefeated league titles.

The key for Sage Hill's offense, which has scored fewer than 14 points five times this season, is the continued development of sophomore quarterback CJ McCord. He showed promise in only his third varsity game, despite completing six of 18 passes in Friday's 46-0 nonleague loss to Mountain View Christian of Nevada on Friday.

McCord was on target another eight times, but his receivers dropped all of those passes. Friday was his second game back after missing four games with a broken elbow.

"I could just get better," McCord said. "This game, I was better."

The Pacific Coast League is certainly the most respected in the CIF Southern Division. All six teams are ranked in the division's top-10 poll.

Following CdM at No. 2 are Irvine, University and Beckman (Nos. 5-7, respectively), No. 9 Northwood and No. 10 Woodbridge.

CdM next meets Northwood on Friday at 7 p.m. at Newport Harbor. The Timberwolves (2-4, 1-0 in league) surprised Woodbridge, 21-10, in their league opener Friday.

Newport Harbor's 35-0 setback to Edison is the worst league-opening loss in the Sailors' history.

The Sailors have dropped their last eight meetings with the Chargers.

Sage Hill (0-7) struggled against the run, allowing 363 yards on the ground, while dropping eight passes. Don't think Lightning Coach J.R. Tolver, a former college receiver, didn't notice.

"We were inconsistent tonight," Tolver said. "We take turns in making mistakes, guys not making catches, guys missing tackles. Consistency's a choice, a decision we have to make."

Newport Harbor barely topped 100 yards of offense against Edison, ranked No. 1 in the CIF Southern Section Southwest Division poll this week.

The Sailors have been outscored, 61-14, in two straight losses.

Players for the Estancia and Costa Mesa freshmen teams were among those donning pink accessories to commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The new gear created an unexpected problem for one Estancia player, according to Eagles assistant coach Tim Parsel, who is also the school's athletic director.

Parsel noted that one player's spandex pink sleeves made it impossible for him to hold the ball during pregame warmups Thursday.

As ball security trumps creating awareness, the sleeves were promptly removed.

— From staff reports

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