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High School Football: Sailors can't keep up with Oilers

Newport Harbor finishes second in Sunset League, one game behind champion Edison.

November 08, 2013|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza
  • Newport Harbor's Max Durante carries the ball in the fourth quarter with a slew of Huntington Beach defenders in pursuit.
Newport Harbor's Max Durante carries the ball in… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

HUNTINGTON BEACH — It was simple for Newport Harbor High going into its Sunset League football finale.

Win and the Sailors claim a share of the league title. Lose and their shot at first was over.

The latter happened on Friday night, as the Sailors lost at Huntington Beach, 40-14. Coach Jeff Brinkley couldn't believe it happened.

How could a team that was playing for something as important as a league crown lose by 26 points to a fifth-place team?

"Obviously, it didn't motivate them enough," Brinkley said of the Sailors trying to split their second league championship in five years.

For the second straight year, the Sailors finish in second place in league, one game back of champion Edison. They too could've have been crowned champions like Edison if they had taken care of business against the Oilers.

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With Edison blowing out lowly Marina, 49-15, Newport Harbor still clinched the league's No. 2 entry into the CIF Southern Section Southwest Division playoffs. The Sailors, who moved into a three-way tie for second with Los Alamitos and Fountain Valley at 3-2, hold the head-to-head edge against both schools.

So, No. 7-ranked Newport Harbor is in the postseason for the fifth straight season and the 22nd time in Brinkley's 28 years in charge of the Sailors. Brinkley knows his team let a golden opportunity slip away.

"[Their] guys, you know, they played harder than we did tonight," Brinkley said. "Whether it was because we already knew that we were locked in [as the league's No 2 playoff team because we lost the head-to-head to Edison], I don't know what the reason was.

"They had a little more incentive maybe than we did tonight, which it shouldn't have been that way, but they played that way."

One week is all the Sailors (5-5 overall) have to regroup for their playoff opener. Sunday is the day they find out who they face in the first round.

Instead of receiving a home game next week, Brinkley believes Newport Harbor will have to travel. He expects a challenge right away from a second-place team from another league.

Huntington Beach (5-5, 2-3 in league), which finished near the bottom of the Sunset League, certainly gave the Sailors more than they could handle. The Oilers jumped out to a 26-14 lead in the first half.

Kai Ross led the way for the Oilers with his legs and right arm. The senior quarterback rushed 17 times for 120 yards and three touchdowns and completed 10 of 12 passes for 88 yards and one touchdown.

Despite Ross' big evening,

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