Bill Brown coached Mike Bargas on the Newport Harbor High football sophomore team in 1987.
Thirty-one years later, Brown is coaching under Bargas with the Estancia High varsity team.
Bargas said he hired Brown this year to guide the Eagles’ tight ends, and they are working together coaching the offensive line.
Brown had been with the Sailors since 1982 but he was suddenly left jobless when Jeff Brinkley retired as Newport Harbor’s coach in January following 32 seasons at the helm. Bargas, who said he coached with Brown for 15 years at Newport Harbor before taking the Estancia job in 2007, made sure that didn’t stay the case for long.
“It was a lot easier [coming to Estancia to coach with Bargas],” said Brown, who coached the running backs at Newport Harbor and wouldn’t elaborate past “old” when asked his age. “I’ve got a little bit more time [coaching]. As long as you like it, you do it.”
Bargas, in his 12th season in charge, likes the Eagles’ chances heading into 2018. Estancia scrimmaged at Laguna Hills last week, and opens its season at home against Loara on Friday night at 7.
Last year was tough, as the team went winless in nonleague competition. A 2-3 mark in the Orange Coast League was only good for fourth place, and Estancia missed the CIF Southern Section playoffs for the third straight year.
The league got tougher, even with league champion Godinez and second-place Laguna Beach exiting. In their place are Orange, which won the Division 13 title last season, and Santa Ana, a Division 12 semifinalist.
“I know that those teams [joining the Orange Coast League] are good for our water sports, the tennis team, things like that,” Bargas said. “It got worse for us, football-wise, with Orange winning CIF and Santa Ana going to the semifinals. We’re trying to get back in the win column and get back going to the playoffs every year. This year, we’re young again, but a lot of those guys have their battle scars from the year before.
“I think we’ve got a legitimate chance to have a winning preseason and then kind of fine-tune things, as long as we stay healthy. I’m excited.”
Senior running back Trevor Pacheco, a first-team Daily Pilot Dream Team pick in 2017, is tough to bring down at a shifty 5-foot-7 and 155 pounds. Pacheco rushed for 1,500 yards and 10 touchdowns last season and multiple key members of the offensive line return, including senior left guard Raul Gonzalez, senior right guard Jacob Parsons and senior right tackle Sebastian Rivera.
“I can’t wait to see what we can do, what we will do,” Pacheco said. “I definitely feel more confident. We have a lot of returners on our O-line, so we’re definitely working together better and we’re more in sync.”
Junior Jaycen Cash returns at quarterback after starting the Eagles’ last seven games of the 2017 campaign. His top two receivers from a year ago, seniors Hayden Pearce and Nathan Guyot, also return, as well as junior tight end Damien Lambert. Lambert’s older brother Dakota, a former Costa Mesa High standout, has joined the Eagles coaching staff as running backs coach.
Defensively, Bargas said the Eagles are switching from a 4-3 to a 3-4 formation this season. Key returners up front include junior tackle Timmy Kibbin on the line, and Gonzalez at inside linebacker. All four members of the secondary also return, with cornerbacks Pacheco and Guyot, free safety Pearce and strong safety Ryan Carrillo.
Chris Bargas and Chris Flores share defensive coordinator duties for Estancia.
“They wanted to switch it up a little bit [from 4-3 to 3-4], and I believe in both of them,” Mike Bargas said. “We had a really good summer and it looked real promising, so we’ll start with that and see how it goes. Unfortunately for us, we have a lot of guys that go two ways, so one less guy on the [defensive line] and more platooning, I think it’s certainly worth looking at.”
Brown is the person Bargas is looking at when they team up to coach the Eagles’ offensive line.
“It’s flipped a little bit,” Bargas said. “He’s helping me, as opposed to me helping him.”
CIF Southern Section Division: 13
Coach: Mike Bargas (12th year)
Staff: Chris Bargas (co-defensive coordinator/secondary/special teams), Chris Flores (co-defensive coordinator/linebackers), Bill Brown (tight ends/offensive line), Dakota Lambert (running backs), Matt Redding (wide receivers), Sean Mangano (defensive line), Michael Ortiz (defensive assistant)
2017 season: 2-8 overall, 2-3 in the Orange Coast League (fourth place), missed the CIF Southern Section Division 13 playoffs
Offensive scheme: West Coast, two back
Defensive scheme: 3-4
Returning offensive starters: Seven
Returning defensive starters: Six
Returning with honors: Sr. RB/DB Trevor Pacheco; Sr. WR/S Hayden Pearce
24 — vs. Loara
30 — vs. La Quinta at Bolsa Grande High
7 — vs. Santiago at Garden Grove High
14 — at Ocean View
21 — vs. Laguna Beach
27 — vs. Calvary Chapel* at Segerstrom High
5 — vs. Saddleback* at Segerstrom High
12 — vs. Orange*
19 — at Santa Ana*
26 — vs. Costa Mesa*
*denotes league game