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Sailors flex to collect victory

FOOTBALL: Newport Harbor bends but doesn’t break on defense, while breaking through for long scoring drives Friday.

September 29, 2007|By Barry Faulkner

DANA POINT — In the battle-tested system of Newport Harbor High football, flexibility is the key.

Defenders must bend but not bow to the extended threat of opponents’ possessions, while the Sailors must show pliability sufficient on offense to mix an occasional explosive pass with a methodical running game.

The Sailors displayed both Friday to claim a 28-14 nonleague victory at Dana Hills, upping their record to 3-1 while dropping the Dolphins to 0-5.

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Newport Harbor scored on three of its four first-half possessions, including its first two on processions that began deep in its own territory.

The Tars went 73 yards on seven plays with the opening kickoff, with junior tailback Michael Helfrich, filling in for injured senior Ben Frazier, capping the march with a one-yard run with 9:16 left in the first quarter.

Sophomore Dillan Freiberg added the first of his four conversion kicks and the Sailors had all they would need to break a two-game losing streak against the South Coast League representatives, who also operate in the same CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division.

After junior cornerback Danny Miller intercepted to halt an eight-play Dolphins drive that had advanced to the Sailors’ nine-yard line, the visitors used 10 plays to traverse the remaining 81 yards, as Miller, fittingly, scored on a four-yard run on the first play of the second quarter.

Dana Hills, which has lost its first four games to respected opponents Orange Lutheran, El Dorado, Los Alamitos and Loyola, all by respectable scores, showed it was intent on ending its season of woe.

The Dolphins, spearheaded by junior tailback Brett Giesen and junior quarterback Sean Schroeder, marched 78 yards on nine plays. Giesen capped the drive with a one-yard run, though a mix-up on the conversion led to a pass intercepted in the end zone by Newport Harbor safety Henry Pyle.

Dana Hills plucked an interception of its own to halt Harbor’s ensuing possession, as junior Brian Pauling returned it 10 yards to the hosts’ 45-yard line.

But the Newport defense produced its first three-and-out and the ensuing punt went into the end zone for a touchback.

The Sailors, who outgained the Dolphins, 143 yards to 43 in the first quarter, stayed on the ground to open its drive. Helfrich, surprisingly stout for his 6-foot, 178-pound frame, carved out chunks of five and six yards, before being dumped for a three-yard loss at his 28.

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