Eagles carrying the torch

With talented junior running backs and strong offensive line, Estancia expects ground success.

August 29, 2011|By Matt Szabo,

The numbers are down for the Estancia High football team. Fifth-year Coach Mike Bargas said he's at about 70 players for the junior varsity and varsity squads combined, down eight or nine guys from last year.

Attitudes have rarely been more up, though, at Jim Scott Stadium.

"Everyone is real positive, which is nice," Bargas said. "We're also coming off a stinging playoff loss, but I think that guys are fired up about that. We're trying to make a statement during the [nonleague schedule]; hopefully we get a little more done. There's a lot of optimism and good energy out there. We've been relatively healthy. Our numbers are a little down, but I think the talent and the attitude supersede what we've got numbers-wise."

Having a varsity team that won the outright league title, plus a junior varsity team went 8-0, will do that for a program. The Eagles, who open their regular season Sept. 9 at Bolsa Grande, want to keep it going.


Here's a position-by-position look at the 2011 Eagles:

Quarterback: Bargas said junior Brad Wilson (6-foot-1, 180 pounds) and senior Sho Watanabe (5-11, 190) have been vying for the starting spot, though Wilson has been taking first-team reps.

Wilson, who transferred from Edison after his freshman year, backed up John Diego last year and got into several games. He played the entire second half of the playoff loss to Beckman and passed for 117 yards.

Bargas said Wilson, who at 6-1 would be the Eagles' tallest starting quarterback since Mike Morley in 2007, has the strength to get the ball down the field.

"He's got poise out there," Bargas said. "We're not going to be a big throw-down-the-field team, but we're good for a few of those. If we were a passing team, I think he'd get the job done. We're going to open up the passing game I think, but for me opening up the passing game is like a 70-30 [split in favor of running plays], or 65-35."

Watanabe, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in the Eagles' first two-a-day practice last year, came back and played baseball in the spring and Bargas said his stock is rising.

"[The starting quarterback job] will be down to the wire, but if not, we have a nice one-two punch," Bargas said.

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