Sailors surprise Griffins

High School Football

Newport Harbor starts out hot and holds off favored Los Alamitos to score big Sunset League victory.

October 28, 2011|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza

NEWPORT BEACH — Coach Jeff Brinkley cannot really explain why his Newport Harbor High football team has played well against Los Alamitos in four of the last five years.

The Sailors just have since rejoining the Sunset League five years ago.

With the Sailors backs against the wall at home Friday night, Brinkley needed them to make it a game against the Griffins again. Not many picked the Sailors to beat the defending league champions.

Eric Tweit, the school's former athletic director, came over and pointed that out to Brinkley, who was all smiles.

"It wasn't the low-scoring game that I talked about," Brinkley told Tweit after his Sailors defeated Los Alamitos, 35-21.

Brinkley will take the result because it puts Newport Harbor (4-4, 2-1 in league) back in the CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division playoff picture.


With two league games left, Newport Harbor shares second place with Huntington Beach. Heading into Friday, the Sailors shared it with Los Alamitos.

Titus Hasson was a reason why Newport Harbor distanced itself from the Griffins (5-3, 1-2). The speedy tailback recorded a career-best 258 yards on 35 carries, scoring on runs of 73 and three yards.

Hasson also turned a little flip pass into a 23-yard touchdown right before halftime. The Sailors went into the break with a 28-7 lead. Brinkley noticed a different team than the one that suffered its first setback in league last week at Huntington Beach.

"This is a big win, a big win for this class, and really for the program if we can keep this going," said Brinkley, knowing a win against Marina next week most likely clinches one of the league's three playoff berths. "After last week, when people were feeling pretty down, for them to bounce back like that and play a great ballgame, that was awesome.

"It was all or nothing. Now, at least we have a chance [to return to the playoffs for a third straight season]. We wouldn't have had a chance [with a loss]."

Brinkley led the Sailors past Orange County's winningest coach, John Barnes, who has 288 career victories. Not many coaches have a winning record against Barnes, but Brinkley does.

Newport Harbor improved to 4-2 against the Griffins under Brinkley's watch. The one place the Sailors have never lost to Los Alamitos is at Davidson Field. They're now 3-0 after holding off Los Alamitos, which scored two touchdowns in the third quarter and cut the deficit to 28-21.

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