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High School Football: Sailors come up short

Newport Harbor's season ends after losing to third-seeded Villa Park in CIF Southwest Division quarterfinals Friday night.

November 16, 2012|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza
(Kevin Chang | Daily…)

ORANGE — Newport Harbor High ran out of its comeback magic on the football field.

In five of their seven victories this year, the Sailors rallied each time in the second half. The problem was that Newport Harbor met a team Friday that had done the same thing a handful of times in the fourth quarter, coming back to win.

What third-seeded Villa Park pulled off, a 26-21 victory in the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Southwest Division playoffs, stunned the Sailors. They really had a hard time coming to grips with losing a game in which the Sailors led by two scores with a little more than nine minutes left to play.

A 21-12 lead didn't hold up at El Modena High. Just like that, Newport Harbor's season was over.

"I can't really put it into words right now how this feels," said a dejected Landon Gyulay, a Newport Harbor wide receiver and cornerback.

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During the week, Gyulay tweeted about getting Jeff Brinkley his 250th career victory as a high school coach. The standout senior did his best, keeping the Sailors (7-5) ahead twice.

The senior standout caught a 53-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Cole Norris in stride, increasing Newport Harbor's lead to 14-6 before halftime.

When Villa Park inched closer, cutting the deficit to 14-12 on an 80-yard touchdown pass, there was Gyulay again. He covered a bigger player, denying him a chance to catch a pass on Villa Park's two-point attempt to tie the game late in the third quarter.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Sailors put together an impressive eight-play, 80-yard scoring drive. Talalelei Teaupa capped it by diving into the end zone on a 19-yard run, putting Newport Harbor ahead, 21-12, with 9:15 to go.

To Brinkley, there was still a lot of time on the clock.

"You never feel comfortable," Brinkley said. "I don't feel comfortable until the final gun goes off."

Before the final whistle blew, Villa Park (11-1) scored two touchdowns in the final 9:06.

It didn't take the home team long, just 3:15 to produce the first score, an 11-yard run by Meki Tafuna. It was his second 11-yard score of the night.

The Spartans got the ball back right away, forcing Newport Harbor to go three-and-out and punt. With 4:08 left, Villa Park took over on the opponent's 44.

Villa Park fed Tafuna four times and he recorded 36 yards on the ground. The senior, who rushed 22 times for 116 yards, got the offense to the Sailors' one on a 16-yard run.

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