COSTA MESA — Coach Jeff Brinkley turned 59 years old on Wednesday. His Newport Harbor High football team gave him his birthday gift a couple of days late.
The wait was worth it to Brinkley. The present turned out to be a classic one Friday night, a victory in the 50th Battle of the Bay.
Make that the Sailors' first win of the season.
Newport Harbor came from behind to defeat host Corona del Mar, 29-26, in front of a packed house at Orange Coast College. Brinkley was all smiles, hugging and shaking hands with everyone in sight.
"We needed this one," said Brinkley, whose team bounced back after starting the season 0-2 for the first time in 29 years.
Getting the first victory wasn't easy, but the Sailors pulled it off, knocking off Back Bay rival CdM for the fifth straight year. This one can be considered an upset, with CdM going into the game 3-0 and ranked No. 2 in the CIF Southern Section Southern Division.