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Boys' Soccer: Mesa pulls off upset against Estancia

Ramirez's early goal holds up, as Mustangs top rival Estancia in league opener.

January 09, 2013|By Matt Szabo

COSTA MESA — Costa Mesa High senior Franco Ramirez felt like he needed to say something before the game.

Ramirez is a co-captain for the Mustangs boys' soccer team. He was fired up for Wednesday's Orange Coast League opener against rival Estancia, the first Battle for the Bell game.

It's rare that the Mustangs beat their crosstown rivals. But Ramirez said he gave his teammates a speech so emotional that a couple of them cried, as did he.

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"I told them that the only way we're going to win this game is if we play with our hearts, play for our school," Ramirez said. "[Estancia] always looks at us like clowns, you know? There's always disadvantages for us, but today we showed them that we can play physically and mentally. [We were] more aggressive. We wanted it more."

Ramirez, a four-year varsity player, showed the Eagles he meant business.

He scored in the second minute and it held up as the Mustangs pulled off the upset, 1-0, at Jim Scott Stadium.

It was a big win for Mesa and its first-year coach, Amos Hernandez. The Mustangs have made the playoffs just once in the past 10 years. Just last month the Mustangs were on probation, a result of too many red cards last year under then-coach Juan Becerra. They played just four games before league play began.

Hernandez, 31, is a walk-on coach who was an assistant at Compton College. He said he wants to build Costa Mesa into a powerhouse program, like his alma mater Lakewood High.

"I didn't come here to lose," Hernandez said.

He definitely had the Mustangs (2-3, 1-0 in league) fired up to play the Eagles (5-4-3, 0-1).

"I thought that [Estancia] played a bit better soccer, but we were resilient," Hernandez said. "I thought that we were more intense, I thought that we were a little bit hungrier. We did a better job at winning 50-50 challenges. We sacrificed our bodies a little bit more, and that was the difference. If we're just strictly talking about soccer, I thought they played a little bit better, but that doesn't always win you games.

"It was more about intensity and heart and effort, and we had a little bit more of it today."

Ramirez showed it just after the opening whistle. He took the pass from Mesa sophomore Fernando Jimenez and split two defenders. The Estancia goalie charged but Ramirez slid near the upper right corner of the box, lofting it over him and into the net.

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