Same sad ending for Eagles against Lobos

For the second straight year, Estancia's season ends against Los Amigos in the first round of CIF playoffs.

November 15, 2013|By Barry Faulkner

GARDEN GROVE — Listed at 5 feet 7, 180 pounds— both likely embellished — Estancia High senior Diego Herrera would hardly appear to be the one player the Eagles could not afford to lose.

But when Herrera went down with a right ankle sprain midway through Estancia's first offensive possession Friday in a CIF Southern Section Southern Division first-round playoff game against Los Amigos at Bolsa Grande High, it may just as well have been a blow to the visitors' Achilles' heel, as the Eagles trailed from the outset and couldn't recover, falling, 33-12.

Herrera was not only the Eagles starting tight end and nose guard, but also their long-snapper on punts and kicks. And he was a fill-in on special teams at that, since taking over for senior linebacker-fullback Jackson Letterman, who was lost with a season-ending knee injury in September.


With Herrera unable to play the rest of the half, Estancia improvised on fourth down and its lone failed conversion attempt. A replacement's ill-fated snap from shotgun formation on a pooch punt floated slowly down from about 15 feet in the air, allowing the Lobos' Alfred Dominguez to block the would-be punt and return it 37 yards for a touchdown.

Dominguez's special teams touchdown upped the Lobos' lead to 19-6 with 4:54 left in the first half and also signified the helplessness inflicted on the Eagles, who were otherwise hanging with the 9-2 Lobos.

Estancia (5-6) had 196 yards of offense and 10 first downs before intermission, almost matching the designated hosts, who had 214 yards and 10 first downs.

And when Estancia junior Indiana Taylor returned the second-half kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown, the Eagles' appeared to be building momentum for a possible comeback.

But a clearly hobbling Herrera, who bravely returned to snap on the conversion attempt, missed his holder slightly with the snap following Taylor's' touchdown and the Eagles never scored again.

Herrera did have a heroic moment late in the third quarter, when after successfully snapping on an Estancia punt, Los Amigos muffed the reception and Estancia freshman Dylan Laurent wrestled the loose ball away to give the Eagles possession at the Lobos' 25-yard line. Herrera limped to the sideline thrusting his fist in the air.

An interception two plays later, however, ended the opportunity and Los Amigos used its physical ground game to advance to the quarterfinals against top-seed and two-time defending division champion Corona del Mar.

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