September 1, 2005
For the second time in four years, the Estancia High School football program has suffered a tragic, unexpected loss.
First, Matt Colby died in September 2001 after a football game during his senior year at Costa Mesa High School, where he had transferred after playing for three years at Estancia.
Now, another Estancia player and former teammate of Colby, Brian “Bubba” Kapko, has died too early, too soon. The 19-year-old died early Sunday in a car accident.
He was the only one to lose his life in the crash.
Friends and family all describe Kapko in ways that make you wish you’d known him. There was his infectious laugh and sense of humor. His ability to make friends with just about anyone. The hugs — big hugs — from his 5-foot-9, 225-pound frame.
No wonder they were unforgettable.
Kapko showed leadership on the football field, where he was captain and MVP last year. He also showed athletic prowess, piling up a career best 160 yards as a fullback in one game while also playing linebacker.
He also showed leadership on campus as a member of the student government.
He was the person, one friend said, “who brought everybody together.”
Sadly, now, Kapko is bringing people together to mourn his loss.
But, already, you are seeing people react in ways that you have to figure Kapko would have approved of — if not led himself, given the chance.
People who don’t get along have joined arms while remembering their friend. And there is a memorial fund, put together by former Costa Mesa City Councilman Mike Scheafer, who knew Kapko for years.
“This kid’s spirit cannot die,” Scheafer told the Pilot. “It has to live on.”
Judging from these past few days, his spirit clearly lives on in those who knew him.