Sailors on the verge

Newport Harbor routs Marina and could secure CIF playoff berth by beating Fountain Valley.

November 04, 2010|By Matt Szabo,

NEWPORT BEACH — The defensive coordinator wasn't there Thursday night for the Newport Harbor High football team.

Tony Ciarelli was in the hospital recovering from successful knee surgery, Coach Jeff Brinkley said. He expects to be back at practice Monday.

The Sailors defense, however, didn't skip a beat.

Newport Harbor had two interceptions and posted its first shutout of the season in a 41-0 Sunset League victory over Marina at Newport Harbor High. It was a must-win game for the Sailors, who can clinch a CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division playoff berth by defeating Fountain Valley next week.


"We played great defense again," Brinkley said of a unit that has allowed seven points in the last two league games. "It's a good win for us. We needed it. Now we control our own destiny next week. We don't have to worry about who beats who; we have to win to get in the playoffs."

The Sailors came into the game against last-place Marina (3-6, 0-4) without any points over their last two games. They didn't waste time Thursday night.

On Newport Harbor's first play from scrimmage, quarterback Austin Rios hit receiver Kellon Truxton on a quick pass. Truxton broke a diving tackle and was gone, scoring 75 yards later to give the Sailors a 7-0 lead.

Newport scored again on its third drive after starting with good field position. The home team went 52 yards in eight plays, capping the drive on Rios' 10-yard touchdown toss to Truxton.

Midway through the second quarter, Rios was already six for seven for 133 yards, and Truxton had already accumulated 114 receiving yards and two scores.

"I thought Rios threw a couple of nice balls," Brinkley said. "Any time we can do both [rushing and passing], we need that kind of balance."

The Vikings briefly got momentum later in the quarter, recovering a fumble at the Newport Harbor 46-yard line. But Sailors senior Parker Norton ended said momentum on the next play, intercepting a pass and returning it 59 yards for another touchdown.

The defense, which was led by linebackers coach Matt Burns on Thursday in Ciarelli's absence, didn't give in after halftime. Sophomore defensive back Landon Gyulay had the final blow against the Vikings, intercepting a long pass with less than two minutes left in the game.

Daily Pilot Articles Daily Pilot Articles