A 10-yard touchdown run up the middle by Angel Hernandez with 6:15
remaining gave the Saints a 26-6 lead and effectively closed any hope
of an Estancia comeback. But the real daggers in the Eagles' hearts
Estancia committed six turnovers, balanced by three fumbles and
three interceptions. The Eagles also recovered four of their own
fumbles, or Santa Ana (4-6, 2-3), might have had an even easier time.
"I don't care who you play, you can't beat anyone with six
turnovers," Coach Craig Fertig said.
Fumbles stalled the first two Estancia possessions. A fumbled
pitch on third-and-two dropped the Eagles to fourth-and-eight and a
fumbled toss on third-and-one forced Estancia to punt on
"When you fumble on the first two series like that, man, that
really kills you," Fertig said.
The Estancia offense looked out of sync for most of the game. With
regular starting tailback Bryce McKendry sidelined with a bruised
thigh, Daniel Cheesboro was given the keys to the offense. The first
nine Estancia plays gave the ball to Cheesboro. The senior transfer
from Costa Mesa looked strong, bouncing off tackles and leaning
forward for extra yards. But he hurt his knee with less than two
minutes remaining in the first half and did not return.
"We lost our two starting tailbacks," Fertig said. "We had two
fullbacks in the backfield for the rest of the game."
The Eagle running attack gained 105 yards, but averaged less than
3 per carry. Santa Ana averaged more than 5 yards per rushing attempt
en route to a 194-yard game.
Albert Partida took a sweep left, ran through one tackle and
bolted 53 yards for a touchdown on the Saints' first possession. Ryan
Sanford blocked the extra point to make it, 6-0.
Kyle Smith returned a punt 59 yards with 2:58 left in the second
quarter for Santa Ana's second score. Nelson Leon stuffed the
attempted two-point conversion run to make it 12-0.
The Eagles were forced to punt on their first possession of the
second half, but the snap was high. When the punter gathered the
ball, defenders knocked the ball out of his hands. Junior Takapu
plunged 3 yards for a touchdown on the next play. A conversion kick