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Eagles wake up in time

High School Football

Estancia, which sits three senior starters, comes alive to blank Loara and win Friday night's season opener.

August 31, 2012|By Matt Szabo
(Scott Smeltzer…)

COSTA MESA — There were few style points Friday night for the Estancia High football team, and no points period on the scoreboard in the first half.

But defensive effort and a large helping of Robert Murtha went a long way for the Eagles in their season opener.

Murtha rushed for 166 yards and a touchdown, and Estancia got an interception return for a touchdown by DeionTe Haywood as the Eagles prevailed, 17-0, over Loara in the nonleague game at Jim Scott Stadium.

And, though the Eagles will take the victory, Coach Mike Bargas clearly did not see the best game from his team, ranked No. 4 in the CIF Southern Section Southern Division poll. Loara is unranked.

"It was an ugly win," Bargas said. "I thought we played sloppy. 'Disorganized' is what word comes to my mind. We didn't pay attention to the fine details, and that might bite us in the butt if we don't clean that up. We didn't have all our regular personnel in there, but that's no excuse."

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Estancia was without three of its best players. Bargas said he sat senior receiver-safety Ben Beck, senior lineman Kevin Peters and senior linebacker Colby Koste for unspecified team rules infractions. Beck did get in the game in the second half, returning punts.

"There were some infractions and things like that," Bargas said. "It wasn't anything major, but I'm trying to run a tight ship. There were some obligations that they attended to."

Loara did not oblige the Eagles by rolling over in the first half. In fact, the Saxons had their best scoring chance on their second drive. Behind power runs from senior fullback Max Trillo, the Saxons moved the ball to the Estancia 11-yard line. But, on third-and-four, the Eagles' Matt Jarmacz got a key quarterback sack, and Loara missed the subsequent field goal try.

Estancia sputtered, failing to get the ball past the Loara 30-yard line in the scoreless first half.

"I think it was just the first-game jitters," Haywood said. "Everyone comes out nervous. We've never seen this team before; we weren't able to watch film. We were just kind of seeing how they were reacting. At halftime, the coaches came in and made adjustments, and I think everyone got their heads straight. The offensive line came out in the second half and started getting holes open, started blowing their guys back."

Murtha had a pair of 15-yard runs on the first two plays from scrimmage after intermission. They led to a 27-yard field goal by senior Dan Cabrera, giving Estancia a 3-0 advantage.

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