When Trevor Pacheco arrived at Estancia High last year, one of the first questions he got from coach Mike Bargas was, "When would you be able to play?"
With a torn anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in his right knee, Pacheco knew he was out for his sophomore year.
Pacheco, a transfer from Mater Dei, held out some hope, though. If the Eagles had made the CIF Southern Section Division 12 playoffs, he thought he might be able to contribute then. He never had to rush back, as Estancia failed to qualify for the postseason for the second straight year.
Pacheco is a junior now. Even though he wears a brace on his knee when he plays, Pacheco said he feels as healthy as ever.
In his first year playing with the Eagles, Pacheco, a running back, has them believing they can end their playoff drought. Not everyone believed that was possible, not after Estancia lost its first five games of the season.
With Pacheco, Estancia got off to a good start in the Orange Coast League last week.
Pacheco totaled 250 yards and four touchdowns in the Eagles' 48-27 win on the road against Saddleback. In one game, Estancia matched last year's win total in league.
The Eagles can double it on Friday, when they play host to Calvary Chapel at 7 p.m. The teams enter the game with identical 1-5 overall records, and atop the league at 1-0 with defending champion Godinez.
While Pacheco and the Eagles have forgotten about the dismal nonleague portion of the schedule, Bargas will never forget how much losing mattered to Pacheco. He saw it right away, in Pacheco's debut with Estancia on Aug. 31.
The Eagles kicked off the season on the road with Loara. By halftime, they trailed 18-6.
"He's crying, he's sobbing at halftime underneath the goal post," Bargas said. "He was crying because he was sad and [upset] that we were losing this game. He kind of gave a speech to the kids under the goal post. We ended up losing that game [39-19]. But the fire that he had and the passion is something that you don't get out of every kid. For a kid to be shedding tears over a preseason game meant a lot to me, because a lot of people like football, but it's very hard to find people that love football like some of us do."
Pacheco comes from a football family. His two younger brothers, Nathan and Lucas, play at Estancia. Nathan is a sophomore and Lucas a freshman. Their father, Jack, also played football at Estancia. Jack, a 1989 graduate of the school, was a standout defensive end and fullback.
But the Pacheco kids had their eyes set on playing for Mater Dei.
Trevor went to Mater Dei for his freshman year, following his older brother, Devin, a football player and wrestler. Trevor said he played on both of Mater Dei's freshman teams, but football wasn't the sport that sidelined him.
Trevor Pacheco said he injured his knee playing rugby, in a non-contact situation in the spring of 2016. Pacheco said the injuries to his knee and the financial burden on his parents of having him and his siblings go to Mater Dei attributed to him transferring to Estancia.
"Just one day they showed up, and I was like, 'All right! Hallelujah!' I knew there was more than one Pacheco [coming]," said Bargas, who now has Trevor and Nathan on varsity, and Lucas on the freshman team. "Trevor has become a vocal leader. He's just a wonderful person. He's a hard-working kid and humble. He's everything you want in an athlete. I just wish he [were] about four inches taller. I think that's his only flaw, that he's a little guy, but it's also a good thing because he can scamper around and he kind of gets between the big guys."
At 5 feet 5, Trevor Pacheco is able to hide behind his offensive line.
Last week, left tackles Nic Mazur and Jorge Castellanos, left guard Sebastian Rivera, center Francisco Zamora, right guard Raul Gonzalez and right tackle Ervin Mauga allowed Pacheco to rush 20 times for 183 yards and two touchdowns. Pacheco also had two catches, each going for touchdowns, a 59-yarder and an eight-yarder.
Pacheco has shown his big-play ability this year. He has returned a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown, rushed 81 yards for a touchdown and thrown a pass 10 yards for a touchdown.
The stats have been there for Pacheco, as he has 740 yards and four touchdowns on the ground through six games and has topped 100 yards four times. All that was missing was the winning.
Pacheco said he is happy the Eagles ended their losing ways and happy to be playing again after sitting out last year.
"It was definitely hard having to wait," Pacheco said, "but it was definitely worth it."
Born: Sept. 14, 2000
Hometown: Costa Mesa
Height: 5 feet 5
Weight: 150 pounds
Coach: Mike Bargas
Favorite food: Pollo asado
Favorite movie: "Planet of the Apes"
Favorite athletic moment: "Returning a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown against Loara [in the season opener]."
Week in review: Pacheco totaled 250 yards and four touchdowns, leading the Eagles to a 48-27 win against Saddleback in Orange Coast League play last week.