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Estancia keeps bell with 15-13 victory
COSTA MESA - The 46th annual Battle for the Bell came down to the facet of the game that is sometimes overlooked by football fans, but not coaches — special teams’ play.
Estancia (4-2, 1-0) won this battle, and the game, against Costa Mesa, 15-13, Friday night at Estancia High.
After being deadlocked at the half, 7-7, Costa Mesa (2-4, 0-1) scored on its first possession of the second half but missed the extra point.
On the ensuing kickoff, Estancia kick returner Ben Beck picked up a bouncing ball from his 1-yard line and ran 99 yards for the touchdown.
Before kicker Dan Cabrera could attempt his extra point, the Mustangs jumped offside twice, and the Eagles (4-2, 1-0) decided to go for two points. Running back Robert Murtha ran the ball for the short conversion.
The Mustangs had their chances in the second half. They were inside in the Eagles’ 30-yard line and driving but fumbled before the Eagles’ Colby Koste came up with the loose ball.
On a fourth-and-1 with 6:30 left in the game, the Mustangs ran the ball but came up just short.
After Costa Mesa was able to pound the ball all game long, the Eagles defense came up big when needed.
Costa Mesa running backs Oronde Crenshaw and Justin Smith combined for 256 yards.
The Eagles won their third Bell title in a row.