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Sailors' heartbreaker

Newport Harbor loses in overtime and also loses tailback Yokoyama to knee injury in first half against San Clemente.

October 01, 2010|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza, david.carrillo@latimes.com
(Scott Smeltzer…)

NEWPORT BEACH —Newport Harbor High football coach Jeff Brinkley decided to go for the win in overtime against San Clemente Friday night.

The big gamble did not pay off as the Sailors lost to the Tritons, 21-20, after failing to convert a two-point conversion. The Tars lost a more important No. 2, as in Buzzy Yokoyama, earlier in the nonleague game.

The junior that drove defenders back with his tenacious running style in his first three games as Newport Harbor's running back no longer could stand on his own two feet in the fourth game.

Yokoyama had to be lifted off the field, his legs dangling, before being placed on a table midway through the second quarter. His night against San Clemente was over as he rode away in the back of a cart, waving goodbye to teammates and the home fans.

Yokoyama might be lost for the season after he heard a pop in his right knee. If Yokoyama cannot return, the Sailors' hopes for a Sunset League title and CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division playoff appearance are in jeopardy.

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Yokoyama never saw the end of the thrilling game between Newport Harbor (3-1) and San Clemente (5-1). He spent it at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, where Aaron Rios, the father of Newport Harbor quarterback Austin Rios, said Yokoyama went to get an MRI on his right knee.

Newport Harbor, ranked No. 5 in the Pac-5 Division, missed Yokoyama's services in the second half. He gained 82 yards and one touchdown before the injury.

In the previous three starts, Yokoyama rushed for 670 yards and seven touchdowns. Two of those games saw Yokoyama gain 294 and 260 yards on the ground.

On his 16th carry, Yokoyama went down hard after a six-yard run. The home crowd went silent as the 5-foot-9, 198-pounder was on his back, grabbing his right leg inside the opponent's 20-yard line.

Whether Yokoyama will return to the Sailors' lineup this season, Brinkley said he did not know.

"I'm not a doctor," Brinkley said. "You're going to have to talk to somebody smarter than me.

"It's a tough loss."

It stung a little more after losing to the Tritons in overtime.

Newport Harbor and San Clemente last met 44 years ago, but they competed as if they were rivals. The hard-hitting contest went into overtime after San Clemente kicker Bret Miller missed a 23-yard game-winning field-goal try with five seconds left in the fourth quarter.

Brinkley and the Sailors celebrated as if they had just won the game.

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