The Sunset League will have one of its original high school football teams back and it will affect the strength of the league.
Huntington Beach returns to the 73-year-old league this fall after it left five years ago, right before Newport Harbor rejoined. Gone is Esperanza, which starting in 2005 won or shared the league title for four straight years.
Newport Harbor Coach Jeff Brinkley said the switch does not really matter to him. The Sailors have been competitive in the Sunset League the past four years, finishing 3-2 every time and two years ago they split the league crown.
"We had played Esperanza tough," said Brinkley, whose Sailors went 3-1 against the Aztecs from 2006 to 2009. "[The Aztecs are] a good program [that is now in the Century League] and I know Huntington's a good program. Huntington's a team that's been on the rise the last couple of years. After going in [the Sea View League], I think they kind of got their legs back under them and got a little more stability.