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Prep football: Sense of urgency

October 26, 2000

Barry Faulkner

IRVINE - Sea View League football fans, players and coaches with

some extra time on their hands, might have picked up some scratch paper

and a schedule this week and tried to dope out what their favorite team

would need to lock up one of three guaranteed CIF Southern Section

Division VI playoff berths.

But Newport Harbor High Coach Jeff Brinkley wasn't among them.

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"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

Laguna Hills.

"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

falling, 26-14.

"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.

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