Estancia improved to 2-3 with the win, coming in its first home game since Week 1. And, while the Eagles seemed to cruise throughout the evening, a pair of convincing second-half La Quinta drives resulted in touchdowns.
Estancia led at the half, 14-0, but the Aztecs (0-4) put together a 15-play, 72-yard drive to begin the second half. The 8 minutes, 10 seconds La Quinta used up resulted in a 1-yard touchdown run by junior quarterback George Martinez making it, 14-7.
The Eagles stalled on their ensuing drive, which ended in a missed 40-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter.
La Quinta got the ball back and marched 80 yards in just 2 minutes, 43 seconds. The drive culminated with a 40-yard touchdown pass on third and 12 from George Martinez to Eddie Martinez with 9:13 left in the game.
The Aztecs, however, missed the PAT kick wide left, leaving the Eagles with a 14-13 lead.
Estancia got the ball back on its own 35 and four plays later took a 21-13 lead on a 4-yard run by Mendez. Junior running back Jason Moreno added a 2-yard touchdown with 37 seconds left in the game.
Morley found success throwing down the right sideline Friday, finding taller receivers against smaller cornerbacks.
“They figured out that we were going to pick on the smaller guys, but I think it worked out,” Morley said. “When the game first started, we saw we could do it.”
Though the defense showed some lapses as it has so far this season, the Eagles rebounded. Estancia’s Eddie Tomasek recovered a fumble and Ryan Redding had a first-quarter interception. Redding also hauled in four receptions for 106 yards and a touchdown.
“We kept giving them lives,” said Eagle Head Coach Mike Bargas. “That’s the worst thing you can do against a team that struggles.
“We were out of position a lot,” he said of his team’s defensive play in the third and early fourth quarters. “To play a 4-3 defense you have to have discipline. You make one mistake and you get into trouble.”