The Eagles, on the other hand, came away with their second straight loss this season and only a smattering of positives to help salve the wound of letting Coach Mike Bargas’ potential first victory at the helm slip away.
Bargas, a longtime Newport Harbor assistant who became the Eagles’ head coach after Brian Barnes departed for Tesoro, absorbed more than disappointment after Thursday’s contest. He also accepted blame.
“I put a lot of this on myself,” Bargas said. “We weren’t ready on special teams.”
A botched punt attempt in the fourth quarter allowed Bolsa to score the game-winning touchdown with 5:53 remaining, capping an eight-play mini-march with a one-yard quarterback sneak by junior Jesus Segovia.
The score was set up by an errant punt snap that the Eagles’ punter retrieved before being tackled at his own 37 with 9:27 left.
Bolsa needed four plays and a personal-foul penalty on Estancia to set up first-and-goal at the five. After three runs gained four yards, the Matadors called timeout before going for the touchdown. Segovia found just enough room to lean into the end zone and break a 6-6 deadlock that the Eagles had forced with a 10-play touchdown procession that covered 73 yards and ate 5:22 off the clock in the third and fourth quarters.
Estancia’s score came on Ryan Redding’s diving catch in the end zone of a fade pass thrown by senior quarterback Mike Morley. The play, Morley’s fifth completion in as many attempts after halftime, erased a Bolsa lead created when Minh Pham returned an interception 68 yards for a touchdown with 5:18 left in the second period.
The conversion kick, however, was low and wide right, keeping Estancia from taking the lead.
Ironically, it was a special teams gift that gave Estancia its best chance to rally, as Samuel Trancoso recovered a Bolsa Grande muffed punt reception at the Matadors’ 39-yard line with 3:41 left.