“This chapter closes, now the real fun begins!” Estancia High School’s head football coach Stewart Burnett told his players after the Bears’ Oct. 26 dismantling of the visiting Lordsburg Mavericks.
Moments after the Bears (6-3, 4-0) bulldozed their way to a 55-0 mercy-rule shortened blowout over the Mavericks, Burnett was inspiring his players to relish their regular season finale—while keeping their eyes on the postseason that lies ahead.
“That was the first domino that had to fall,” Burnett told the team.
The win was the Bears’ fifth in a row on the season, capping a clean sweep of their District 3-2A opponents.
It marks Estancia’s fourth consecutive district title.
“That ties a school record,” Burnett said of the four consecutive district crowns. “The seniors have never lost a district game.”
“It feels good to shutout districts,” Estancia senior Josh Thomas said. “Tonight was about coming out, going hard, giving everything we’ve got, and playing for the playoffs.”
It was Estancia’s first meeting with Lordsburg since 2015 and the Bears were in control from the outset.
The Bears’ offense scored on seven of their eight possessions, while the defense forced the Mavericks to either punt or turn the ball over on downs on each possession.
A would-be touchdown by Andrew Lujan on the Bears’ first play from scrimmage was nullified by a penalty, but Thomas got the scoring started when he capped the Bears’ five-play opening drive with a 1-yard plunge to give Estancia a 6-0 lead.
On the first play of the Bears’ next possession, Lujan swept around the right side past a cluster of meandering Mavericks, picked up a bone-crushing block by Drayton Oberg, and went 80 yards for a touchdown to boost the lead to 14-0.
Lujan led the Bears in rushing with 115 yards on four carries.
Cruz Moreno’s 34-yard touchdown run on a quarterback keeper extended the lead to 22-0.
Just over a minute later, Moreno found Thomas on a screen pass that went for a touchdown to put Estancia up 28-0 near the end of the first quarter.
Early in the second quarter, Thomas swept around the left side and dashed down the sidelines for a 53-yard touchdown.
Moreno’s 45-yard TD pass to Oberg pushed the lead to 42-0 at halftime.
Oberg led the Bears with 76 yards receiving.
An odd play occurred at the start of the second half when Moreno’s pass was intercepted by a Mavericks defender who subsequently fumbled the ball and Estancia recovered—giving the Bears a circuitous 16-yard gain.
On the next play, Thomas bolted 38 yards for a TD, expanding the lead to 49-0.
Thomas gained 103 yards on six carries with three touchdowns rushing, along with a TD reception.
Moreno’s 29-yard touchdown pass to Brian Walker ended the game on the 50-point mercy rule with 3:02 left in the third quarter.
“It’s huge, historic,” Moreno said of the win. “We just gotta keep going.” He was 6 for 8 passing for 240 yards and three touchdowns.
Following the victory, the Bears got the No. 4 seed in the upcoming Class 2A state playoffs and will have a bye while they await the winner of the first-round matchup between No. 5 Escalante and No. 12 Capitan.