High School Football: Can't top 1994 Sailors

The Daily Pilot features Roger Carlson's top 25 Newport Harbor football games during the school's Homecoming week.

October 23, 2013|By Roger Carlson
  • The front page of the Daily Pilot sports section when Newport Harbor High beat Servite, 20-14, in 1994.
The front page of the Daily Pilot sports section when Newport… (Don Leach, Daily…)

A group of students with leather helmets, shoulder pads, cleats and a football took the field one Friday afternoon in October of 1931 behind the leadership of Coach Ralph Reed, and when the dust had cleared they had come up short, 7-0, to Orange High. The Newport Harbor Sailors would score two touchdowns that year en route to a 2-4 record with both victories over tiny Capistrano High. A year later they would score two more touchdowns, but end up winless in six starts.

It would be 12 years before the legendary Hal Sheflin led the Sailors to their storied appearance in the CIF Playoffs against La Verne Bonita in 1942, led by future three-time All-American and Heisman Trophy winner Glenn Davis when at West Point. Sheflin led Harbor to a 6-0 halftime lead, but was forced to sit out the second half with an injury as Davis ran wild in a 39-6 victory. Time Magazine asked Davis, when a sophomore at Army, to name the greatest football player he had ever faced. He replied, "Harold Sheflin."


Twenty-eight more seasons would pass before Ernie Johnson's Tars captured the school's second Sunset League crown in 1970. And it would be nearly a quarter century later — 1994 — before Jeff Brinkley's Sailors found perfection in an unforgettable 14-0 run to the CIF Southern Section Division V championship thriller over highly regarded Servite.

An 82-year history of great moments and great games, and far too many for simply a "Top 10."

Huge upsets, title games, thrillers and escapes … but perfection tops them all.

Here are my all-time top 25 Newport Harbor football games.

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