The Estancia High football team lost several key players and a top assistant in the off-season. Most of the players graduated and one moved out of town.
As for the assistant, Coach Mike Bargas said, he just grew tired of coaching and he dealt with medical issues. He doesn't blame the assistant for not coming back to the Eagles.
The assistant is the same man who gave Bargas sound advice six years ago. He told Bargas that it was time for Bargas to become a head coach.
That man was Dave Holland. Bargas said he owes Holland a lot of credit for his decision to leave his alma mater, Newport Harbor, after 15 seasons as an assistant and accept the job with the Eagles.
A lot of Bargas' success at Estancia is because of Holland.
A year after Bargas took over at Estancia, one of the best defensive minds to come through Newport-Mesa joined Bargas' staff. Holland, who led Corona del Mar to CIF Southern Section Division VI titles in 1988 and '89, became the Eagles' defensive coordinator.
"We tried to get as much information and knowledge as we could from Dave," Bargas said during Holland's five seasons, which included Estancia claiming undefeated Orange Coast League titles in 2010 and '11, making four straight CIF Southern Section Southern Division playoff appearances from 2009 to '12, and reaching the semifinals in 2011, all firsts in the program's history.
"The writing was on the wall [for Holland]. He [coached] for 54 years."
Bargas viewed Holland as his father-in-law. Holland's longtime girlfriend is the mother of Bargas' wife, Brook.
The defensive coordinator position is staying in the family. Bargas said his brother, Chris, is assuming the role. Chris coached the defensive backs and special teams last year.
This is Chris' first stint as a defensive coordinator.
"We'll find out," Bargas said whether his younger brother would be ready to fill Holland's shoes.
Bargas also hired four new assistants, Chris Flores (linebackers), Bob Fields (line), including two former Estancia players, Matt Redding (wide receivers) and Cameron Collins (defensive backs). The young coaches have given Bargas, 41, a boost before the season.
The Eagles enter their Friday night opener against Loara at Glover Stadium in Anaheim energized. They don't have much experience, only one starter is back, but below are the players who will try to get Estancia off to a strong start.
•Quarterback: Connor Brown, a sophomore has won the starting job for the Eagles.
Bargas likes Brown's size at 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, his arm and his fearless attitude. He takes over for Brad Wilson, a two-time first-team All-Orange Coast League pick.
Bargas, who calls the plays, said his West Coast offense plans to throw more than it has in the past.
Ronnie Urquiza, a junior, is the backup for the second straight year.
•Running back: The ground attack lost standouts Robert Murtha and DeionTe Haywood to graduation.
Murtha, the three-time Orange Coast League Offensive Player of the Year, wrapped up his career with 5,489 rushing yards and 58 total touchdowns, both marks are Newport-Mesa records.