NEWPORT BEACH — The Newport Harbor High boys' water polo team fell behind for the first time midway through the fourth quarter.
The Sailors' three-goal halftime lead was long gone. They needed something to counter the momentum of visiting El Toro in Saturday afternoon's key nonleague game.
In fact, the Sailors waited until the waning seconds to deliver the counterpunch to knock out the Chargers.
It came, fittingly enough, on the counterattack.
Junior Dan Stevens scored with 15 seconds left as Newport Harbor won the wild game, 10-9, in a battle of CIF Southern Section Division I powers.
Stevens' second goal of the game came after a steal from senior Ryan Fowler with just less than 30 seconds to go. Stevens got a precise pass from fellow junior Preston Lee and turned, firing one past rapidly charging El Toro goalie Garrett Danner for the game-winner.
"On that last play I just swam really hard," Stevens said. "I saw Ryan steal the ball, and that kind of fired me up at the very end. I just swam hard and Preston gave me a great pass. I couldn't have asked for a better pass."