WESTMINSTER — The game was a battle for three quarters.
Points were at a premium. Yards were at a premium. The Newport Harbor High football team was locked in a defensive struggle with Marina on Thursday night, in danger of falling out of contention for a Sunset League title.
The Sailors got their act together just in time.
Senior quarterback Cole Blower hit tight end Steve Michaelsen for a key fourth-down touchdown pass and Newport Harbor pulled away, 24-7, at Westminster High, keeping the league title hopes alive but also improving its CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division playoff chances.
Newport Harbor (5-4, 3-1 in league) can clinch a playoff berth if Edison beats Fountain Valley on Friday and Huntington Beach beats Los Alamitos.
The Sailors also put themselves in a position to win at least of a share of the league title if they can beat Edison next week, at home in the league finale on Nov. 10.