LAGUNA HILLS Laguna Hills, the defending CIF-SS Southern Division champion, took care of first-round formalities Friday night with an efficient 34-7 victory over visiting Estancia.
The third-seeded Hawks (9-2) will try to take the next step when they play Segerstrom (7-4), a team they beat earlier this season, 33-14. Segerstrom’s upset of Mayfair of Lakewood in overtime foiled a rematch of last year’s title game. Laguna Hills has seven starters back from the championship it won, 28-21, and many others who gained a lot of valuable experience.
“What you instill in those kids is the motivation to keep playing,” said Laguna Hills coach Bruce Ingalls, whose team was certainly motivated and was never threatened. “Tonight, our defense took away everything they wanted to do.”
Led by nose guard Colby Perkins and linebacker Joey Bonutto, the defense limited Estancia (6-5) to 126 yards and didn’t allow a score until the first team departed with a 34-0 lead.
Laguna Hills won its eighth consecutive game by controlling the clock with a powerful running game that accounted for 280 yards behind a line of Chase Gibson, Dan Yielding, James Shoop, Drew Corley and Jeff McCraney. Jonathan Miranda carried 15 times for 117 yards, including a 15-yard run on the game’s first series.
Laguna Hills built a 20-0 lead with the ground game setting up the pass, particularly a 42-yarder from Tim Belman to Alex Salera in the second quarter. Before that, Salera had bounced away from two defenders for a 5-yard score for a 14-0 first-quarter lead.
Laguna Hills had outgained Estancia, 256-45, in the first half.
Michael McCullough recovered a fumble in the end zone on a blocked punt by Steven Scurti to open the third quarter, and Tommy Vorsheck added a fourth-quarter TD run of 7 yards.