For the third straight year, the Estancia High football team opened with a shutout win. The Eagles took out Loara, 17-0, on Friday night at Jim Scott Stadium.
Coach Mike Bargas' Eagles opened 2010 with a 55-0 victory over Bolsa Grande, and opened last year with a 56-0 win, also over Bolsa Grande.
The victory over Loara was also notable as it was Estancia's first over the Saxons in program history. Loara had a 4-0 record against Estancia coming into Friday's game, though all of the four previous games were played in the 1960s.
The Costa Mesa High football team has been able to move the ball against Santiago under second-year Coach Wally Grant.
Last year, the Mustangs rushed for 266 yards in a 42-7 victory. On Thursday, they were able to spread the ball around in a 45-14 win at Jim Scott Stadium.
Running back Justin Smith had 167 rushing yards and two touchdowns. But the passing game was also nearly perfect, as senior quarterback Noah JeyaRajah completed nine of 10 passes for 194 yards. The lion's share went to Markiece Traylor, who had 184 receiving yards and three long touchdown catches.
Costa Mesa (1-1) was efficient. The Mustangs averaged more than a first down a play, totaling 403 yards on 40 plays from scrimmage.
Newport Harbor's schedule gets a lot tougher after it dropped its season opener to Trabuco Hills, 27-21, at home on Thursday.
The Sailors play host to Loyola of Los Angeles on Friday. The Cubs are the Tars' second straight CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division opponent. The following two weeks, Newport Harbor is at home against Back Bay rival Corona del Mar, the defending Southern Division champion, and San Clemente, the Pac-5 Division runner-up.
Coach Jeff Brinkley wasn't thinking ahead, not after Newport Harbor started the season with a loss for the second straight year. That had never happened, back-to-back season-opening losses, during his 27 years with the Sailors, until now.
"We had a couple of opportunities obviously late in that [first] half … and we didn't get in," said Brinkley, referring to the Sailors turning the ball over on downs near the red zone with 65 seconds to go before halftime.
Newport Harbor turned the ball over four times (two interceptions and two fumbles).
Corona del Mar High kicked off the season with a 21-12 setback to Laguna Hills on Friday at Newport Harbor High, ending the Sea Kings' 11-game winning streak in season openers.
The Sea Kings led, 6-0, but they were outscored 21-6, in the final three quarters. Coach Scott Meyer pointed to CdM's missed opportunities on offense in the first half.
"We had a chance on the one-yard line [at the start of the second quarter to] punch it in and get a score," said Meyer, who saw his team's second straight trip into the red zone result in another field goal in the first half. "Then we turn around and end up giving up that [ensuing] kickoff return [for a touchdown]. That was a big swing right there."
Sage Hill School Coach J.R. Tolver is not big on moral victories, he said after Saturday's 32-27 nonleague loss to Fairmont Prep at Yorba Linda High. The Lightning, plagued by a slow start for the second time in two games this season, just want a victory.
The Lightning did begin Saturday well enough, driving for a touchdown after Fairmont Prep started the game with an onside kick that Sage's Luca Bonvicini recovered. But the Huskies countered with three straight touchdown drives, taking a 20-6 lead early in the second quarter.
Last week Sage Hill fell behind Calvary Chapel, 21-0, early in the second quarter. The Lightning played the Eagles even the rest of the way but lost, 42-20.
"I can't keep saying the same thing every week," Tolver said. "A moral victory is still a loss. I tell the guys this all the time. There's a million ways to make a mistake, and that's fine. Just don't make the same mistake twice. And we have made the same mistake three weeks in a row, in our scrimmage [against Notre Dame of Riverside], against Calvary Chapel and against Fairmont Prep. That's unacceptable. You'd like to focus on the positive and commend them for their competitive, combative spirit, but at the same time we've got to fix the mistakes."
The key to Costa Mesa's offense was a strong line of tackles Sam Bunker and Marco Zalpa, guards Joseph Quiroz and Alan Obregon, center Jonathan Elias and tight end Anthony McCormick, who opened up sizable holes all night.
It is a sizable unit, averaging nearly 265 pounds. JeyaRajah said during practice last week, Elias moved from tackle to center, and Obregon moved from center to guard. The Mustangs stepped up despite the absence of senior Oscar Reyes, a three-year starter at left guard and the team's strongest player, who is out with a broken ankle.
"Oscar's a big loss," JeyaRajah said. "That's the heart and soul of our team right there, the hardest-working player I've ever met. He'll be back soon, hopefully."
Bargas sat three starters Friday, including senior receiver-safety Ben Beck, senior lineman Kevin Peters and senior linebacker Colby Koste. Bargas said they broke team rules.
But their absence allowed other players to shine. Bargas' son, Seth, stepped in at receiver to catch two passes for 27 yards, and Devon Jackson also played receiver. Jackson Letterman and Dustin Long made plays at linebacker, as did Cole Mensinger at safety.
On the defensive line, Bargas was able to play senior Mackenzie Collins and sophomore Michael Hubbard. Hubbard, physically imposing at 6-foot-3 and 245 pounds, is a transfer from Long Beach Poly.
"He was a pleasant little drop-in for us," Bargas said. "He had a couple of big tackles for us tonight."
Zach Wade threw three touchdown passes in his debut as Newport Harbor's starting quarterback.
The senior hit junior receiver Quest Truxton on scoring passes of 66 and 11 yards. The other, a 30-yarder, went to junior receiver Cory Stowell.
Wade finished with 161 yards on 10-of-20 passing.
Before Friday, it had been three years since CdM and Laguna Hills met on the field.
Laguna Hills was part of the Pacific Coast League from 2006 to 2009, winning league every year without losing a game. The Hawks' coach, Bruce Ingalls, said he's noticed a difference in the Sea Kings since Laguna Hills left for the Sea View League in 2010.
"[CdM's] always been a good program, but Scott has come in and done a great job with it," Ingalls said. "These guys are going to be ready for their league when they get done with their nonleague [schedule]. They have some good players. Their quarterback was tough to stop. We had a difficult time tackling him at times."
Should sophomore quarterback CJ McCord have to miss extended time due to his arm injury suffered in Saturday's game, Sage Hill will turn to senior Harrison Ray. Ray competed nine of 18 passes for 86 yards Saturday with two touchdowns and an interception.
"It makes things different," Tolver said of McCord's injury. "We knew that we had two pretty good quarterbacks, though. Harry's been playing quarterback for the last two years. He has worked his butt off in the offseason, and he stepped in and played well tonight when he got a chance to play that position. But he's a senior captain and I'd expect nothing less out of him."
Estancia senior tailback Robert Murtha continues to assault the record books. With 166 yards rushing Friday, last year's Daily Pilot Dream Team Offensive Player of the Year increased his career total to 4,031 yards. The career Newport-Mesa rushing record belongs to Binh Tran of Costa Mesa, who tallied 4,333 yards from 1991 to 1993.
Murtha would have tallied more yards Friday, but he had touchdown runs of 15 and 36 yards called back due to holding.
Sage Hill is only in its 11th varsity football season, but this year's squad matched a dubious mark after Saturday's loss. The 2012 Lightning are only the second team in program history to start 0-2. The first was the 2003 squad that ended up 1-8, the worst record in program history. The 2003 team's lone win came in Week 3.
During a 21-second stretch in the fourth quarter, Newport Harbor and Trabuco Hills combined to turn the ball over three times.
Newport Harbor committed the first and third turnovers, an interception and fumble. The latter miscue led to Trabuco Hills taking a 27-7 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
Costa Mesa played its first two games at Jim Scott Stadium, but the Mustangs won't be back until October.
The Mustangs' next game at their usual home field will be Oct. 5, the Battle for the Bell game against rival Estancia. Mesa's next home game, against Los Amigos on Sept. 13, will be played at Orange Coast College.
The Mustangs also have road games against Katella on Friday at Glover Stadium, and against Pacifica on Sept. 22 at Bolsa Grande High, before league play begins.
Corona del Mar's passing game struggled for much of the game, finishing with 63 yards.
Cayman Carter, a first-year starter, completed nine of 19 passes with no touchdowns and one interception. The senior performed better with his legs, leading CdM in rushing attempts (19) and rushing yards (95).
"They did a good job defensively," Meyer said of the Hawks. "First game throwing the ball, we were a little rusty in some spots, but we'll fix it."
Carter replaced Brent Lawson, who as a senior last season threw for 2,519 yards and 27 touchdowns, CdM single-season records, and was named CIF Southern Section Southern Division Offensive Player of the Year.
— From staff reports