Cabrera's late field goal lifts Eagles

High School Football

Estancia rallies in fourth quarter and junior kicker comes through in final minute to stun Buena Park.

September 17, 2011|By Matt Szabo

BUENA PARK — Estancia High junior kicker Dan Cabrera had never made a field goal in a varsity football game.

Late in Friday night's contest the Eagles needed Cabrera, who kicked on junior varsity last year. He said he was confident he could come through.

In Cabrera's head, the 36-yard field goal has never in question. Cabrera transferred his thoughts to the field.

He easily nailed the field goal with 55 seconds left in the fourth quarter, lifting Estancia to a 17-14 victory at Buena Park.


"I knew this was for my team," Cabrera said. "I was thinking about the team more than the kick. I love my team. We're a family. It's a great experience to get the victory for my team."

Cabrera credited his kicking coach, Estancia assistant Chris Bargas.

"'Little Bargas,' he just pushes me to get through everything in kicking," Cabrera said.

"Big Bargas," Estancia Coach Mike Bargas, shared plenty of hugs with his players after the dramatic victory. It was sealed after senior cornerback Sho Watanabe intercepted Buena Park quarterback J.J. Christy's long heave downfield with 31 seconds left in the game. Watanabe caught the ball at the 11-yard line, keeping his feet inbounds on the home sideline to bury the hopes of the Coyotes (2-1).

The Eagles, ranked No. 5 in the CIF Southern Section Southern Division poll, are 2-0 for the first time in Bargas' five-year tenure. They had to rally in the fourth quarter, tying the score at 14-14 on junior running back Robert Murtha's five-yard touchdown run to the left with 3:24 left.

On the third play from scrimmage on Buena Park's ensuing possession, Estancia senior linebacker Alex Rodriguez intercepted Christy's throw over the middle, returning it to the Coyotes' 40-yard line.

After four runs from Murtha and a Buena Park offside penalty, the ball was on the Buena Park 20. Estancia junior quarterback Brad Wilson tried to again draw Buena Park to jump, but the defense didn't and Bargas called a timeout.

Enter Cabrera, who cleared the goalposts with plenty of room to spare after the snap by Ozzy Magana and out of the hold of Levi Stillman.

Estancia had scored on the opening kickoff of the game, as Murtha took the bouncing ball back 80 yards for a touchdown. But the Eagles couldn't score again until late in the fourth.

The host Coyotes got their only touchdown of the first half after a 14-play, 65-yard drive. Christy scored on a one-yard keeper with 10:33 left before halftime.

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