SANTA ANA — The high school football season can slip away from you quickly, and Estancia High quarterback Brad Wilson didn't want that to happen in his senior year.
Wilson injured his groin in the Battle for the Bell game two weeks ago. He had to miss last week's first-place showdown against Laguna Beach and he started Friday's game on the bench as well. as senior Levi Stillman drew his second straight start.
Wilson came in on the Eagles' fourth drive of the game. He showed Godinez just how good he was feeling.
He threw three touchdown passes as the Eagles won the important Orange Coast League game, 34-18, at Segerstrom High.
"It's, 'How do you want to be remembered?'" Wilson said. "I only had [three] more chances of league [games] ... It feels really good to come back against a great Godinez team. They stayed in coverage well; I had to throw a few balls away. But definitely the receivers stepped up big and they trusted me. I didn't get a lot of reps in practice this week."
The Eagles (5-3, 2-1 in league) moved into a second-place tie with Godinez (3-5, 2-1) with two league games remaining. And they also did it with their defense.
"I thought our defense played fantastic tonight," Estancia Coach Mike Bargas said. "They kept us in it all night. [Godinez] had a good game plan against Robert [Murtha], but Brad threw the ball when we needed to."
Murtha still rumbled for 167 yards on 28 carries. His lone score, a 14-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter, helped ice the game for the Eagles.
Estancia, ranked No. 10 in the CIF Southern Section Southern Division, took a 13-7 lead into halftime. Wilson found senior Ben Beck on a 57-yard touchdown pass, and senior Dan Cabrera made two field goals in the first half as well.
Cabrera, who is also a defensive lineman, rolled his ankle in the second half, Bargas said, as did senior center Alex Lopez in the first half. Cabrera still felt good enough to kick in the second half, though he limped off the field after the game. Lopez did not return but junior Mark Velasquez stepped in at center.
The Eagles, who improved to 5-0 against Godinez since 2008, began to pull away in the second half. After Godinez made a field goal to cut the lead to 13-10, Beck caught a short pass and did the rest, taking it 80 yards for a score and a 20-10 Estancia lead. Godinez got a safety to make it a one-possession game, but Estancia got a bit lucky early in the fourth quarter.
Wilson's pass into double coverage was deflected by Godinez defensive back Randy Rivera, but Estancia senior receiver Henry Vasquez alertly grabbed the ball. He took it the rest of the way for a 48-yard touchdown, upping the lead to 27-12.
"He saved me on that one," Wilson said. "I'd rather be lucky than good any day."
Wilson was both, completing just six passes but they went for 248 yards.
Beck had three catches for 140 yards and also appeared to strip the ball from the running back on the Grizzlies' opening drive of the second half.
DeionTe Haywood recovered the fumble.
Stillman and Edwin Medero recorded interceptions for the Eagles, who allowed few big plays.
The first was a 68-yard pass to Pedro Leon on Godinez's opening drive of the game. Godinez quarterback Zachary Huizar eventually ran it in from a yard out, giving the hosts an early 7-0 advantage.
"Ben played awesome," Bargas said. "I had a lot of guys step up. They're a good football team."
Orange Coast League
Estancia 34, Godinez 18
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Estancia 0 – 13 – 7 – 14 — 34
Godinez 7 – 0– 5 – 6 — 18
G – Huizar 1 run (Ocampo kick), 8:49.
E – Cabrera 31 FG, 8:04
E – Beck 57 pass from Wilson (Cabrera kick), 5:56.
E – Cabrera 42 FG, 0:12.
G – Ocampo 39 FG, 5:23.
E – Beck 80 pass from Wilson (Cabrera kick), 5:10.
G – Safety (quarterback tackled in end zone), 2:57.
E – Vasquez 48 pass from Wilson (Cabrera kick), 9:00.
E – Murtha 14 run (Cabrera kick), 5:13.
G – Olivas 10 run (kick failed), 0:08.
E – Murtha, 28-167, 1 TD.
G – Raya, 13-74.
E – Wilson, 6-15-1, 248, 3 TDs.
G – Huizar, 5-18-2, 113.
E – Beck, 3-140, 2 TDs; Vasquez, 2-73, 1 TD.
G – Leon, 1-68.