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Sailors sack Mustangs

Newport Harbor opens season with strong effort to take down Trabuco Hills Thursday night.

September 10, 2010|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza, david.carrillo@latimes.com
(Kent Treptow / Daily…)

NEWPORT BEACH — The scoreboard went out before the start of the second half of Newport Harbor High's season opener.

For the Sailors' sake, they did not really have to put up numbers on their scoreboard again.

The defense and special teams bailed Newport Harbor out of trouble on numerous occasions on the football field Thursday night. Special teams recorded a touchdown in the second quarter to give the Sailors enough points to beat Trabuco Hills.

Newport Harbor added a touchdown late as it won, 17-6, making it eight straight years the Sailors have kicked off the season with a victory. No team has been able to post double-digit points on Newport Harbor in the last eight openers.

The defense intercepted two passes and special teams blocked a field-goal attempt that gave the Sailors the lead for good. The biggest player on the field, Stanford-bound senior JB Salem, created the scoring opportunity for the Sailors, ranked No. 8 in the CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division poll.

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The 6-foot-4, 258-pound Salem penetrated through the middle of the line and batted down Oleg Parent's 36-yard field-goal try. Asa Lohr picked up the live ball on the 27 and raced 73 yards for a touchdown, giving the Sailors a 7-3 lead with 7:41 left before halftime.

Special teams have always been a strength of Coach Jeff Brinkley-coached teams, but he said he was not impressed with the overall performance. One player he praised was running back Buzzy Yokoyama.

The junior's debut at running back was solid. He ran for 116 yards on 19 carries. He carried the load for Newport Harbor, as no other running back ran the ball for Newport Harbor until fullback Ryan Andrews did late in the third quarter.

"He did what we needed from him," Brinkley said of Yokoyama, who took over as the starting tailback after Cedric Whitaker did not return to the Sailors after rushing for 1,003 yards and totaling 12 touchdowns last season.

Yokoyama said he felt the nerves at the start.

"Once those nerves went away, I felt like it was just … my game," Yokoyama said.

The game seemed to favor Trabuco Hills (1-1) in the first half.

The field position belonged to the Mustangs. Three times in the first 24 minutes, they started on the Sailors' 38 or better.

Mistakes cost Trabuco Hills the chance to jump on Newport Harbor.

The Sailors looked destined to be down by six points midway through the second quarter. Parent tried to convert his second field-goal attempt in a four-minute span until Salem got in the way.

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