High Schools: 'Boy' to start for Estancia

The "Boy" is getting the rock for the Estancia High football team.

Coach Mike Bargas said he is starting sophomore Robert Murtha at tailback when the Eagles kick off the season Thursday at home against Bolsa Grande.

Murtha, whose father Robert Murtha Sr. calls him "Boy," waited just a year to move up to varsity.

"He's ready," said Bargas, who was pleased how the 5-foot-9, 170-pound Murtha ran the ball in a scrimmage against Segerstrom last Friday afternoon at Jim Scott Stadium. "At first, we were a little apprehensive about whether he would be able to handle it. We let him play and learn on the freshman team [last year].

"He's come a long way. He's shifty and tough."

Murtha wears No. 34 in honor of Bo Jackson, his favorite NFL player. Murtha has the ability as Jackson possessed to run past defenders and run over them as well.

Type his name on YouTube.com and see for yourself. There are a couple of highlight reels of Murtha from his time with the Eagles' freshman team and the Costa Mesa Pop Warner program.

The new reel starts Thursday. Bargas said Murtha will get chances to make plays.

"If he's hitting on all cylinders, he'll get as many as 30 carries," Bargas said.

**A couple of weeks ago, Newport Harbor Coach Jeff Brinkley saw a photo of two of his former football players walking off the field.

Ryan Iverson and Dillan Freiberg are teammates again. The long snapper and kicker are at the University of Colorado, where they have walked on.

Iverson started in the Buffaloes' 24-3 victory against in-state rival Colorado State Saturday. He was one of five true freshmen who played in the game.

Iverson snapped the ball seven times to punter Zach Grossnickle, whom Freiberg is backing up. Iverson is now snapping to a right-footed punter, which took some getting used to.

Iverson snapped the ball to the left-footed Freiberg at Newport Harbor for four years.

One thing on the field that is not new to Iverson is making tackles.

The former first-team All-Sunset League linebacker finished with two unassisted tackles on Colorado's special teams.

**Two local girls' volleyball programs that reached their respective CIF Southern Section championship matches last year enter the new season ranked high.

Defending champion Newport Harbor opens No. 2 in the Division I-AA coaches' poll, while runner-up Corona del Mar is No. 3 in Division I-A.

The school ranked ahead of Newport Harbor is Los Alamitos, which the Sailors knocked off in the section final last year.

Redlands East Valley, which has knocked off the Sea Kings in the section title match the past two seasons, is No. 1.

Sage Hill School is No. 10 in Division IV-AA.

**In the CIF Southern Section preseason boys' water polo rankings, Newport Harbor is third in Division I and CdM is second in Division II.

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