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High School Football: Eagles blanked in opener

Loara returns favor from last year, shutting out mistake-prone Estancia Friday night.

September 07, 2013|By Matt Szabo

ANAHEIM — Someone in the Glover Stadium press box asked at halftime Friday night what Robert Murtha was up to this year.

The Loara High football team remembered Murtha, who had a solid game as Estancia shut out the Saxons in the season opener last year. But Murtha, Newport-Mesa's all-time leading rusher, is now at Orange Coast College.

The Eagles are very young this year, with just one returning starter. In terms of the shutout, Loara returned the favor in Estancia's season opener.

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The Saxons blitzed the overmatched Eagles, 35-0.

Coach Mike Bargas suffered just the third shutout loss in his seven-year tenure at Estancia, the first since a 31-0 nonleague loss to Beckman in 2010. After Friday's game, Bargas said he was obviously disappointed with how the Eagles played, young or not.

"Loara played well," Bargas said. "Just everything that could have gone wrong, we did wrong. We didn't get a lot of help from the officials, either, but we dropped passes, we had a bad punt, we threw interceptions. Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong."

Loara rode shifty junior running back Josh Moran, who had 121 yards rushing and two touchdowns in just over a half of action. Moran's second touchdown of the night capped the scoring, a seven-yard run with 10:18 left in the third quarter. Senior quarterback David Gistlinck threw for two touchdowns and also ran one in for the Saxons (2-0).

Bad omens were already there for Estancia in the first quarter, even after Loara missed a 26-yard field goal on its opening drive. Estancia went three-and-out, but the punt was low, low enough to run into the offensive line. Loara recovered at the Eagles' 10-yard line and scored three plays later on Gistlinck's one-yard keeper.

"It's hard to win games when we've got our defense backed up," Bargas said. "I thought in the second half, the defense made some good adjustments. We started tackling, but we made a lot of foolish mistakes [throughout the game]."

Estancia went for it on fourth-and-six from its own 36 on its second drive. Connor Brown rolled out and had the pass to an open receiver, but it went off his hands and was dropped. Eight plays later, Loara converted a fourth-and-goal play from the two, with Gistlinck completing a play-action pass to his open fullback, Andres Ramirez.

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