Tars' defense sets tone early

September 23, 2000

Richard Dunn

NEWPORT BEACH - It is a football rivalry almost four decades old,

but no history lesson was necessary for Newport Harbor High's defense in

preparation for Friday night's Back Bay encounter with Corona del Mar.

With defensive gems coming from every direction, the Sailors pushed

around the Sea Kings and won convincingly over their cross-town rival for

the fourth time in five years.


"In our first defensive series of the game, we stuffed them ... we

just shut them down completely," Newport Harbor defensive tackle Nick

Moghaddam said of the game's tone-setting series.

Aside from a CdM touchdown in the waning moments of Battle of the Bay

XXXIX, the Sailors recorded a shutout with their first string on the


Sailor defenders were everywhere. And it started as soon as Corona del

Mar quarterback Joe Barber took his first snap from center Adam Dunn.

The Sea Kings were stopped on back-to-back lateral passes, one for no

gain, the other for a loss, then Newport Harbor defensive end Garrett

Troncale sacked Barber for a 6-yard loss, forcing CdM's Rory McKeever to

punt before many Corona del Mar fans had their soda and popcorn.

"I think that first series definitely set the tone for the game,"

Newport Harbor defensive end Ian Banigan said.

The Tars scored on their first offensive drive, then the defense shut

down the Sea Kings again and Newport Harbor's offense responded with

another touchdown early in the second quarter.

"We knew (the Sea Kings) were going to throw the ball with their two

quarterbacks (Barber and Dylan Hendy), and we knew their running back

(Blake Hacker) could run, so we knew we had to come out and play

defense," said Newport Harbor cornerback Brian Gaeta, who had two of his

team's three interceptions, the other turned in by outside linebacker

Chris Manderino in the second quarter.

"Defense is definitely a key factor to this team this year."

Newport Harbor middle linebacker Alan Saenz (6-foot-2, 260 pounds),

one of the defensive captains, helped on several road-blocking stops,

including an open-field tackle on Hacker on a screen play.

In addition to Troncale's sack, Moghaddam, a 6-4, 260-pounder and a

standout on Newport Harbor's CIF Southern Section Division VI

championship team a year ago, provided another on the first play of the

fourth quarter, dropping Hendy for an 8-yard loss.

On the next play, CdM fumbled and Saenz recovered for the Sailors,

setting up Newport Harbor's final touchdown in a much-ballyhooed game

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