SANTA ANA — Coach Mike Bargas went into Saturday's football game with two motives. The first was for Estancia High to beat Saddleback and the second was for everyone to play.
The Eagles easily met both objectives, coming away with a 26-8 road win to keep their CIF Southern Section Southern Division playoff hopes alive.
Estancia is in a two-way tie for third place in the Orange Coast League with Laguna Beach. With one league game left, Estancia can jump to second place and move closer to securing one of the league's two guaranteed postseason berths.
In order for that to happen, the Eagles (4-5, 2-2 in league) must get past second-place Calvary Chapel (7-2, 3-1) next week. Bargas has seen Calvary Chapel play and it can score quickly.
The Eagles allowed just one touchdown to Saddleback, coming in the fourth quarter. By the fourth quarter, Calvary Chapel is usually on its way to producing its seventh touchdown. Estancia faces a team that has averaged 50 points in its last seven contests.
The possible high-scoring affair at Jim Scott Stadium poses problems for Estancia, which has only topped 50 points once this season.
"If it is [a shootout], it's going to be tough for us," Bargas said. "But I didn't think we had  points in us against Godinez [on Oct. 25]. We just [have] to have some ball control and be physical upfront."
Against a winless Saddleback team at Segerstrom High, the Eagles had no issues controlling the line of scrimmage. They even sat junior Christian Laurent at running back for the third consecutive game to keep his ankle fresh for Calvary Chapel.
The Eagles still ran past the Roadrunners (0-9, 0-4) all afternoon.
Laurent's younger brother, Dylan, got the start at tailback. The freshman scored on Estancia's fourth play from scrimmage, running right for a two-yard touchdown. The younger Laurent rushed for a 19-yard touchdown midway through the third quarter and finished with 49 yards on six carries.
Indiana Taylor received the bulk of the work for Estancia. He rushed 19 times for 176 yards and one touchdown. The junior has totaled 390 yards and five touchdowns on the ground while filling in for Laurent, who went down with an ankle injury in the league opener.
The reason, Bargas said, Taylor didn't start for the second straight week was because he showed up late to Friday's practice. Bargas plans to use Taylor and the older Laurent in the backfield against Calvary Chapel.
Tailbacks in the last two contests have gashed Calvary Chapel's defense. Costa Mesa's Oronde Crenshaw rushed 43 times for 377 yards and five touchdowns in the Mustangs' 58-41 victory against Calvary Chapel on Friday. The week before, Laguna Beach's Nathan Lancaster rushed 30 times for an Orange County single-game best 547 yards, to go with seven touchdowns, the third-best rushing touchdown total in county history.
"We [have] to beat Calvary for [any shot to claim an automatic playoff berth], otherwise there's no tomorrow," said Bargas, whose team can earn the league No. 2 postseason entry with a win against Calvary Chapel and with first-place Costa Mesa (6-3, 4-0) winning at Laguna Beach (5-4, 2-2) next week. "We kind of knew that [we were in must-win situations] after the first two [league] losses. Now these guys have something to fight for."
Orange Coast League
Estancia 26, Saddleback 8
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Estancia 7 – 13 – 6 – 0 – 26
Saddleback 0 – 0 – 0 – 8 – 8