"There are a lot of scenarios out there, but we just need to win this
week," said the 15-year Harbor head man, who will try to accomplish just
that when the Sailors battle host Woodbridge tonight at 7 at Irvine High.
Newport (5-2, 1-1 in league), ranked No. 6 in CIF Division VI, would
not clinch a playoff spot with a win. But the Tars would move past
Woodbridge (3-4, 1-0) into second place.
"Every game at this point has a direct impact on the playoffs," said
Brinkley, who is confident such stakes will prevent the emotional lull
his team experienced in the first half of last week's 27-7 win over
"I don't think we had a sense of urgency until the second half last
week," Brinkley said.
Despite losing four of their last five, Coach Rick Gibson's Warriors
should provide a challenge worthy of the Sailors' focus.
The Warriors surprised Laguna Hills, 10-0, in the league opener Oct.
13, then led defending CIF Division IV champion Weslake (6-1 and ranked
No. 2 in Division IV this year), 14-7, at halftime last week, before
"They're playing really well right now and seem to be believing in
what they're doing," Brinkley said. "And I told our kids (Woodbridge) is
still undefeated in league and playing for a league championship. This
should be an emotional, tough game."
The Sailors are also playing well and have won nine of 12 previous
meetings with Woodbridge.
Harbor has utilized its familiar formula of a strong running game, a
stingy defense, and winning the turnover battle, to this point.
Senior tailback Chris Manderino has rushed for 1,071 yards and 12 TDs
in 18 quarters since shifting from quarterback. In his five starts last
year's Daily Pilot Sea View League MVP has run for 226, 256, 156, 168 and
182 yards, respectively. Including his time at quarterback, he has 1,070
rushing yards and 13 TDs.
The offensive line of tackles Scott Lopez and Robert Chai, guards
Bryan Breland and Jim Erickson, center Jeff Marshall and tight end Joe
Foley, will, once again, face the challenge of blocking the Buddy Ryan 46
defense, also known as the double flex.