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Prep football: Full esteem ahead

September 06, 2001

Barry Faulkner

NEWPORT BEACH - Two football rosters yearning to feel better about

themselves will battle one another for that opportunity tonight, when

Estancia High hosts Magnolia in the season opener for both schools.

Kickoff is 7 o'clock at Newport Harbor High.

Estancia, which initiates the Jay Noonan era, comes off a tumultuous

offseason, in which its former coach and five returning starters left for

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crosstown rival Costa Mesa.

The Eagles lineup includes no returning starters and less than a

handful who saw substantive action last fall.

Magnolia, on the other hand, went 1-9 in the debut campaign of former

El Modena coach Bill Backstrom last year. The Sentinels' malaise appears

to be rooted much deeper, since the program has lost 17 of its last 20

games and has not made the CIF Southern Section playoffs since 1982.

But, barring a tie, tonight's showdown will propel one program toward

a brighter future.

Estancia will need to turn up its intensity, according to Noonan, who

becomes the ninth coach in the 37-season history of the program.

Noonan a longtime assistant who worked most recently at Capistrano

Valley High, has brought renewed enthusiasm and a whole new aesthetic to

the Eagles.

Estancia will debut its winged helmets and new maroon home jerseys

tonight. The Eagles also abandon last year's wing T for a more

traditional two-back pro-set offense, which will be triggered by junior

quarterback Lewis Bradshaw, a transfer from Newport Harbor.

On defense, the Eagles will unleash an attacking four-four scheme in

which players will be encouraged not to waste time reading keys, but

merely explode toward the general direction of the ball carrier.

Noonan, as well as his players, are extremely excited to kick things

off.

"We have to be prepared," Noonan said. "We are prepared, we just have

to play like we're prepared. We can't afford turnovers and mistakes and

we can't give up anything on our special teams."

That preparation included Friday's scrimmage against Cabrillo of Long

Beach, during which Noonan said his defense struggled against the much

bigger Jaguars.

"Cabrillo was very big and physical," Noonan said. "If Magnolia saw us

scrimmage, it will probably try to run the ball against us. Run defense

is a concern for us."

Noonan is more confident in his secondary, which includes returning

lettermen Mitch Valdes and Ryan Grimes, as well as talented transfers

Nate Harriman and Jermaine Snell.

Harriman, a speedster from Texas, and Snell, a late fall arrival from

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