La Costa Canyon races past visiting Del Norte

No. 7 Mavericks use two scores on the ground from Andrew Maes, big plays on special teams and a long interception return to repel the Nighthawks


One long run showed how 12 seconds of offense can be more productive than 7 minutes and 23 seconds of ball control.

Senior running back Andrew Maes bolted 80 yards for his second touchdown run of the night to expand upon a nine-point lead and No. 7 La Costa Canyon went on to post a 28-13 nonleague victory Friday over Del Norte.

“I didn’t get touched at all on that one,” Maes said during the postgame celebration on the Mavericks’ turf. “Great blocks all around.”

Trailing 14-5 at halftime, Del Norte (1-1) used 11 plays and nearly 7½ minutes to advance to the La Costa Canyon 16-yard line, only to come up empty when a 33-yard field-goal attempt bounced off the crossbar. On the following play, Maes broke up the middle and then to the left sideline before outracing the Nighthawks’ defense to the end zone. He finished with 153 yards on 12 carries, including just two attempts in the second half.

Following an exchange of punts, the La Costa Canyon defense came up with a score when cornerback Bode Estabrook tipped a Del Norte pass that was snagged out of the air by safety Sergio Garcia, who returned the theft 65 yards for the TD and a 28-5 Mavs lead just 24 seconds into the fourth period.

“It was the tip drill, just like how we practice it,” said Estabrook, who also was on the receiving end of a 58-yard TD pass from sophomore quarterback Quinn Roth in the second period.

“I was keyed on the quarterback’s eyes while in zone coverage,” said Garcia. “We made the play.”

“We were bend but don’t break on defense, but we showed that we can win games a lot of other ways,” said Mavericks coach Sean Sovacool, whose team is off to a 2-0 start with three straight road games coming up next.

First-year coach Nick Barnett absorbed his first loss as the head man at Del Norte after serving as a defensive assistant coach last year with the Mavericks.

“We’ve got to clean some things up, but we have it in this team to do something special,” said the former all-pro linebacker. “We’re going to keep grinding.”

The Mavericks took the field sporting new green jerseys, a surprise switch from the usual home Navy blue-colored uniforms.

“We kept it a secret for six months, and that wasn’t easy,” Sovacool said.

A defensive stop on fourth-and-1 at the La Costa 47-yard line on Del Norte’s first possession of the game led to the Mavericks’ first score. A 16-yard pass completion from Roth to Trevor Ladd preceded a 25-yard touchdown run around the right corner by Maes with 6:53 remaining in the first period.

A special teams mistake by the hosts led to Del Norte’s first points when a bad snap in punt formation went out of the back of the end zone with 3:57 left in the opening period to cut the Mavericks’ lead to 6-2.

An interception by linebacker Caden Quinn and his subsequent 24-yard return set up the Mavericks in good shape at the Del Norte 28-yard line, but La Costa Canyon came up short on a run off a fake field goal.

Special teams played a role again when La Costa Canyon’s Nash Cooper broke through to block a Del Norte punt, which bounced through the end zone for another safety, this one giving the Mavs an 8-2 lead barely a minute into the second period.

“We’ve now blocked five kicks in two weeks,” noted Sovacool.

Maes returned the ensuing free kick 32 yards, and three plays later Roth found Estabrook over the middle for a 58-yard touchdown pass with 8:58 left in the second quarter.

A 31-yard field goal by Trey Coleman with 1:46 remaining in the first half capped an 11-play drive for the Nighthawks that left the score 14-5 at the intermission.

La Costa Canyon 28, Del Norte 13

Del Norte 2 3 0 8 — 13

La Costa Canyon 6 8 7 7 — 28

LCC — Maes 25 run (kick failed)

DN Safety, ball snapped out of end zone

LCC Safety, Cooper blocked punt out of end zone

LCC Estabrook 58 pass from Roth (run failed)

DN FG Coleman 31

LCC — Maes 80 run (Luoto kick)

LCC Garcia 65 interception return (Luoto kick)

DN G. Limon 7 pass from Schneider (Schneider run)