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Sailors denied on road

High School Football

Newport Harbor mistakes costly against host Mira Costa, which halts Tars' two-game winning streak.

September 29, 2012|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza

MANHATTAN BEACH — Leading up to Newport Harbor High's football game on Friday, Coach Jeff Brinkley said he talked to the opposing coach. Brinkley and Don Morrow, the coach at Mira Costa of Manhattan Beach, know each other well.

Before their teams met for the ninth straight year, Morrow gave Brinkley some flattering words. Morrow watched the film of the Sailors' 28-7 upset win last week of San Clemente, a CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division finalist last year.

"In terms of watching our film, he thought that was the game he said that really looked like our old Newport Harbor teams," Brinkley said.

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The Sailors were unable to continue with their old brand of successful football for the second straight week.

Their physical ground game, stout defense and sound special teams disappeared. As did the Sailors' two-game winning streak as they lost the nonleague game at Mira Costa, 26-14.

The road contest was the first for Newport Harbor (2-3), ranked No. 9 in the Southwest Division. What Brinkley learned is that his team has a ways to go before it opens Sunset League play next week against No. 2 Edison.

"We're just going to have to get better if we're going to compete in the Sunset League," said Brinkley, whose team starts league against the defending league champion and a program it last beat 33 years ago.

"We broke down [in] a lot of areas [against Mira Costa]. We didn't play very well in any aspect of the game, really."

After only scoring three points in the first half, the Mustangs dominated the rest of the way. They stopped tailback Talalelei Teaupa 20 yards short of recording his fourth straight 100-yard performance on the ground for the Sailors.

The Mustangs (3-2), ranked No. 7 in the Northern Division, ran wild. Their veer offense went through Raphael Lawson-Gayle, who burned the Sailors for 218 yards and one touchdown on 21 carries.

Lawson-Gayle produced 100 rushing yards in both halves. The second half featured him finding the end zone twice, once on a three-yard run in the third quarter to give the Mustangs a 10-7 lead, their first of the game.

His second touchdown, coming midway through the fourth quarter, put away Newport Harbor. It all happened after the Sailors broke down on special teams for the second time in a 13-second span.

After a snap sailed over the punter's head and into the back of the end zone for a safety, Newport Harbor kicked. The Sailors trailed, 19-14, until they booted the ball in the direction of Lawson-Gayle.

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