The Estancia High football team retired the No. 37 jersey of Brian "Bubba" Kapko prior to Friday night's Orange Coast League opener against Laguna Beach. Kapko's family members and friends spoke at a ceremony near the Eagles' football office. Coach Mike Bargas said the team dedicated the season to Kapko, who played football at Estancia before dying in a car accident in 2005, at the age of 19.
The Brian Kapko Foundation hosts the popular "Bub-A-Que" each year at an Angels baseball game, raising money for the community while honoring Bubba.
"[Kapko's family] are the greatest people and the biggest Estancia supporters," Bargas said. "They don't just support football, they support the school as a whole … It's the least we can do for them. We want the Kapko name ever-present here at the school."
The Newport Harbor High defense turned in its best performance of the year at the right time.
The Sailors intercepted four passes and allowed only 79 yards rushing and 90 yards passing in a 28-6 Sunset League-opening win at home against Huntington Beach on Friday. The victory ended a two-game losing streak.
Senior safety Kellon Truxton recorded two picks, returning one 17 yards for a touchdown. Senior cornerback Parker Norton and senior linebacker Blair Luchs each had an interception.
Brinkley credited defensive coordinator Tony Ciarelli for the Sailors (4-2, 1-0 in league) slowing down his former school.
"Coach Ciarelli prepared those guys well for that zone read they ran," Brinkley said. "It's really like playing an option team. You've got to be disciplined. You've got to assign somebody for every aspect of that offense. We did some creative things this week and put these guys in a position to be successful and they went out and executed the plan."
On a team full of play-makers, junior David Fenner is arguably the most unlikely standout for Sage Hill School.
In the Lightning's 53-7 nonleague win over visiting Saddleback Valley Christian on Friday, Fenner was in on four tackles for losses and also recovered a fumble to set up a short touchdown drive. The 5-foot-9, 150-pounder played safety last season, but was shifted to outside linebacker in the off-season. It was a move generated by defensive coordinator JD Thompson and one that Coach J.R. Tolver called genius.
The soft-spoken Fenner, whom Tolver called an animal, had a different word for the position shift.
"I got to camp in August and [the coaches] were like, 'You're playing [weak-side linebacker],' " Fenner said. "And I was like, 'Sweet.' "
Fenner said his quickness and a scheme that included frequent blitzes, helped him become a frequent visitor to the Warriors backfield.
Tolver said it was more than the scheme that led to Fenner's success.
"He just has a nose for the ball," Tolver said. "He's not the biggest kid in the world, but he's tough as nails and he likes to mix it up."
Corona del Mar High's five-game losing streak in Pacific Coast League play is over.
The skid, which dated back to last season, did not end in the way Coach Jason Hitchens wanted it to Thursday.
The Sea Kings played Northwood to a 29-29 tie in a league opener at Newport Harbor High. Hitchens would have preferred the two teams play overtime to determine a winner, but league rules do not allow OT.
"The mind-set behind [not playing overtime in league] is, especially now that we have an at-large [playoff berth] in the [CIF Southern Section Southern Division], that a tie helps you, and given the situation, would you rather tag a loss on there or a tie?" Hitchens said.
"I would've been a lot happier if we would've held on to the lead and won the game, but considering how horrible we played in the first half, [I'll take the tie]."