Brinkley, Sailors upset

Newport Harbor coach stuck on 199 wins at school after Tars stunned at Dana Hills, suffering their first loss.

October 02, 2009|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza

DANA POINT — A booster member planned to buy an ad for today’s newspaper to congratulate Newport Harbor High Coach Jeff Brinkley on a milestone.

The person waited a couple of days on the advice of playing it safe. That turned out to be a wise decision because on Friday night Brinkley stood no chance of collecting his 200th career victory with the Sailors.

No one had to stop the presses, but Dana Hills sure stole the headline from Brinkley.

Dana Hills pulled off a stunning 41-7 nonleague victory at home, upsetting the Sailors, ranked No. 10 in the CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division poll.


The game played out much differently from last year’s one-point contest won by Newport Harbor. On a night Brinkley tried to become the seventh Orange County coach to win 200 games, the Dolphins handed Brinkley one of his most lopsided losses in his 24 years at Newport Harbor.

The coach getting showered at the end of the game with a bucket of water was Dana Hills’ Brent Melbon. As a Corona del Mar alumnus, he’s all too familiar with Newport Harbor and Brinkley.

The longtime coach looked shocked at the end after his Sailors (3-1) lost for the first time this season.

“You could tell it was a big deal for them, bigger than for us obviously,” Brinkley said after shaking hands with a wet Melbon. “You start pouring water buckets on their [coach’s] head, it shows it’s a big deal.

“We seemed very flat. It’s my job to get them ready and I didn’t have them ready.”

Two weeks is how much time Dana Hills (3-1) prepared for Newport Harbor. For a team which runs a no-huddle, spread offense, the Dolphins ran away with the game.

Dana Hills jumped out to a 31-0 lead at halftime. A security guard on campus stood a better chance at catching the beach ball floating in the home stands than the Sailors did catching the Dolphins on the field.

In the first half, Newport Harbor fumbled twice, turned the ball over on downs twice, and allowed Dana Hills to recover an onside kick.

The offense recorded three first downs in the first 24 minutes. The defensive strategy worked perfectly for Dana Hills. Melbon knew Newport Harbor quarterback Austin Rios, having coached him as a seventh-grader with a Newport-Mesa youth football team.

Falling behind early created problems for Newport Harbor.

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