Estancia’s football team saved its biggest blowout for last. In their final home game of the season, the Bears cruised to a 54-0 rout over the visiting Capitan Tigers on Oct. 28.
The game was the regular-season finale for both teams. The win lifted the Bears to a 6-4 overall record and gave them their second-consecutive district title.
Estancia’s defense was stout, forcing five turnovers and holding Capitan scoreless. Estancia’s offense, led by senior quarterback Ja’Brae Boyer, scored on every possession except the last — when the Bears took a knee to run out the clock in the first half. The game ended at halftime on the 50-point mercy rule.
“They did what they needed to do,” Estancia head coach Stewart Burnett said of his team’s performance. “I told the seniors, ‘This is your last game at home,’ and so the question was, what were they gonna do with that? They had the opportunity to be a district champion and they had to finish.”
After Estancia recovered a Capitan fumble on the Tigers’ opening drive, Boyer burst through a hole on the Bears’ first play from scrimmage and scampered 42 yards to the end zone.
Less than a minute had ticked off the clock and the Bears were up 6-0.
“He said he wanted the ball,” Burnett said. “And he took it to the house on the first play.”
Boyer added, “This is gonna sound really cocky, but I was like, ‘They’re not gonna touch me on this play.’ I wanted to set the tone for the game.”
Aiden Boyle’s 13-yard touchdown run a few minutes later gave the Bears a 13-0 lead.
After Estancia recovered another Capitan fumble, Boyer’s second TD of the game—a 31-yard run—made it 20-0.
Josh Calhoon capped a seven-play drive with a 1-yard plunge into the end zone for a 26-0 lead.
“There was a guy on me, and I just shed him off my arm and just kept running,” Calhoon said.
Calhoon’s 64-yard run on the following drive gave the Bears first-and-goal at the Capitan 1-yard line. Calhoon carried the ball 10 times for 133 yards.
On the next play, Boyer rolled out and tossed a pass to Colin Pope who made a diving catch in the end zone between a trio of defenders to make it 33-0 at the end of the first quarter.
“The defensive back turned the wrong way, so I turned out and then Ja’Brae had a good pass to me,” Pope said.
On Estancia’s first possession of the second quarter, Boyer scored his third rushing TD when he sliced through the left side of the line, then cut back to the right and raced 66 yards to the end zone for a 41-0 lead.
Boyer carried the ball just three times and led the Bears’ ground game with 139 yards and three TDs. He was 4-of-6 passing for 43 yards and the TD pass to Pope.
The Bears forced another Capitan fumble on the first play of the Tigers’ next possession, and that set up Boyle’s second TD—a 15-yard run around the left to push the lead to 48-0 with 5:34 remaining in the second quarter.
After another Capitan turnover, Alonso Bustillos capped Estancia’s final scoring drive when he plowed into the end zone from the 8-yard line with 2:06 left. It was Bustillos’ first touchdown.
“I see this huge guy the size of Ja’Brae comin’ at me, and I just dropped my shoulder and hoped for the best, and I was in, touchdown,” Bustillos said. “It feels amazing, first ever.”
Franklin Herril picked off a Capitan pass with :33 left in the first half and the Bears ran out the clock.
Burnett said the Bears’ district title is significant for several reasons, including the stiff competition they’ve faced.
“They had a brutal schedule, we made it that way on purpose, and for them to go 6-and-4, I’m proud of these guys,” Burnett said.
Estancia got the No. 5 seed in the Class 2A state playoffs and faced No. 4 Eunice, the defending state champion, on Nov. 4. Despite early leads, the Bears ultimately fell 35-34 . The Bears scored first on a 2-yard touchdown run by Boyer and forged ahead 13-6 on another Boyer TD. A pair of rushing touchdowns by Aiden Boyle put Estancia up 27-13 at halftime. Boyer’s 42-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter had Estancia sitting on a two-possession 34-21 lead. But the Bears couldn’t come up with a first down when they needed to late in the game, and Eunice scored two unanswered touchdowns to capture the victory.
“One more first down on any of our late drives in the fourth quarter and we would have done it,” Burnett said after the loss.
The victory advanced Eunice to the 2A semifinals where they lost 53-16 to No. 1 Jal on Nov. 12.
Estancia finished its season 6-5 overall, 3-0 in District 3-2A.