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Uncharted territory

High School Football

Sailors are 0-2 for the first time under Coach Jeff Brinkley after getting thoroughly outplayed by visiting Loyola.

September 17, 2011|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza
(Scott Smeltzer…)

NEWPORT BEACH — A party is set up for Jeff Brinkley Saturday to honor his past 25 years as the coach of the Newport Harbor High football team.

There are so many feats for Brinkley to celebrate with former players, colleagues and supporters during the bash. One of those isn't what happened Friday night.

What transpired is a start to a season no one has ever seen under Brinkley's watch at Newport Harbor. The Sailors have begun the year 0-2 after losing 27-0 to Loyola of Los Angeles.

The setback stung a proud coach. The Sailors unveiled gray jerseys in their home opener.

The mood after 48 minutes was just as dark as the new uniforms.

The Cubs avenged two losses in the past two seasons to Newport Harbor. Loyola became the first nonleague opponent to shut out the Sailors in eight years.

Loyola is off to its first 3-0 start in six years. While the Cubs are off to an impressive start, the Sailors are going in the opposite direction.

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They have a week to turn it around before the Battle of the Bay against rival Corona del Mar (3-0) at Orange Coast College. The Sea Kings have a legit shot to end the Sailors' four-game winning streak in the rivalry.

Brinkley isn't calling the contest a must-win situation for Newport Harbor.

"No bigger than any of the other games," Brinkley said. "Our goal is to get better."

Early turnovers have hurt those efforts in both of Newport Harbor's games. Just as the offense turned the ball over in the first quarter last week at Trabuco Hills, the Sailors did so again.

On the sixth play from scrimmage, the Sailors fumbled. Eamon McOsker blitzed and sacked quarterback Cole Blower and the ball popped loose.

Loyola took over on the Sailors' 30-yard line. Six plays later, Wyatt Bradford scored on a one-yard run, his first of two touchdowns.

Midway through the opening quarter, Newport Harbor found itself playing from behind again. That isn't the best position for the young, inexperienced Sailors.

When they struggle moving the chains, going without a first down during a 25-minute stretch from the second and fourth quarter, and struggle taking care of the ball, it makes matters worse.

The Sailors fumbled again in the first quarter, but recovered. They made a second-and-15 situation longer and impossible to convert on third down.

The punt was the first of five attempted by Jake Ambrose. The fifth one was blocked and returned for a 27-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

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