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Sailors' season ends

High School Football

Newport Harbor can't keep up with Long Beach Poly in first round of CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division playoffs.

November 18, 2011|By Matt Szabo

LONG BEACH — It may have looked like it, but the Long Beach Poly High football team was not simply toying with Newport Harbor in Friday night's CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division first-round playoff game.

The Jackrabbits rotated their quarterbacks, seniors Nick Pope and Chaiyse Hales, alternating them in and out each quarter. This has just been part of the game plan most weeks for Coach Raul Lara's Jackrabbits.

Talk about a two-headed attack. Pope and Hales finished with nearly identical stats. Each passed for two touchdowns as Long Beach Poly rolled, 49-14, at Veterans Memorial Stadium, ending the Sailors' season.

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Newport Harbor Coach Jeff Brinkley knew the Sailors (5-6) were big underdogs against No. 3-seeded Poly (10-1). After watching the Jackrabbits score touchdowns on their first six possessions of the game, he wouldn't bet against Poly winning its third Pac-5 title in five years.

Poly is ranked No. 9 in the state of California by Cal-Hi Sports.

"They're very athletic, and they're physical," Brinkley said. "They play great defense, there's no doubt about it. And offensively, they've got guys. Their quarterbacks threw the [heck] out of the ball tonight. [They were] very accurate, more accurate then we probably saw on film even. They threw the ball with velocity and very accurately.

"They've got a lot of tools, and they'll compete every week in this division."

The Sailors, making their third straight Pac-5 playoff appearance, were denied in the first round again. Newport Harbor still has not won a playoff game since 2007, when it beat Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks on the road in the first round before losing to the same Jackrabbits.

That game's final score was a bit closer, 35-14. This one got out of hand as Pope (nine of 14 for 144 yards) and Hales (eight of 13 for 171 yards) carved up the Sailors' secondary.

The primary beneficiary was senior receiver Richard Smith, who caught five passes for 125 yards and three touchdowns.

"It's motivation in a way," Hales said of the two-QB attack. "The less snaps you get, the better you want to do when you're in. I want to do good every second I'm in, because I don't know when I'll get pulled out or not."

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