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Newport Harbor 25, Dana Hills 24:

Wow, what a finish

FOOTBALL: Newport Harbor holds on after Dana Hills misses on a 35-yard field-goal try.

October 03, 2008|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza

NEWPORT BEACH — Sheer madness at the end.

In a matter of seconds, Newport Harbor High won a football game, then thought it lost it, only to learn it had won it.

Throughout it all, the Sailors never kicked themselves Friday night.

Dana Hills did. Once. Twice. Then for a third and fourth time. The Dolphins’ kicking game failed.

The Sailors held on for a 25-24 nonleague victory after Conner St. Clair’s 35-yard field-goal attempt barely missed winning it for the Dolphins with no time left at Davidson Field.

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St. Clair had two shots. The first, a 40-yarder with one second remaining, went right.

What happened next was crazy.

“All the [Newport Harbor] fans ran onto the field,” Newport Harbor Michael Helfrich said. “They thought it was over.”

Helfrich thought so, too.

It was far from being over, even though the clock showed zeros.

A running-into-the-kicker penalty on the Sailors, gave Dana Hills one more shot to pull off the upset.

This time it appeared St. Clair nailed a 35-yard, game-winning field goal. The Dolphins’ sideline exploded and poured onto the field to celebrate.

One thing Dana Hills Coach Brent Melbon forgot to do was see whether the officials at the back of the end zone lifted their arms, signaling a successful field goal.

“I honestly didn’t see,” Melbon said.

What the first-year Dana Hills coach saw was many of his former players he coached four years ago with the Newport-Mesa Junior All-American Midget Seahawks go nuts.

After slapping hands with players from Dana Hills (2-2), the Sailors (3-1) ran wildly to the end zone.

Melbon couldn’t believe his eyes.

“How did we miss it?” he asked as his players argued the call.

One Dana Hills’ supporter showed Melbon by pointing to the left post with his hands and then moving them six-inches apart.

Newport Harbor Coach Jeff Brinkley was glad it was over. It didn’t matter to the 23rd-year Sailors’ head man whether it was a controversial finish.

“The guy said, ‘No good!’ ” said Brinkley of the head official. “I’ve had some crazy [games]. That was pretty wild.”

An unimaginable finish for many, from players, to coaches, to fans involved.

It really didn’t have to end this way.

If the Dolphins had kicked the extra point after quarterback Sean Schroeder brought them back with his third touchdown pass with 5:51 left in the game, Dana Hills could’ve tied it.

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