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No opening jitters for Sailors

Newport Harbor improves to 16-6 in playoff openers under Brinkley's tenure with comfortable victory.

November 15, 2013|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza

DANA POINT — The Newport Harbor High football team went into Friday down. Marred by injuries to their starting tailback, tight end and defensive end, the Sailors couldn't afford to lose any more players.

Yet, two more went down in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Southwest Division playoffs at Dana Hills.

Ramsey Hufford, a two-way standout lineman, hurt his ankle late in the first half, and then star quarterback Cole Norris left after he got the wind knocked out of him in the third quarter. The two returned, Hufford at the start of the second half and Norris on the next play, and the Sailors finished off the Dolphins.

The Sailors overcame playing without three key starters and won, 32-13, advancing to the quarterfinals for the second straight season. They pulled it off in a workmanlike fashion that reminded Coach Jeff Brinkley of his old Newport Harbor teams, with long drives and pounding the ball.

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Garrett Hall filled in for running back Chance Siemonsma, who missed the game with a leg injury. Hall, behind a dominant performance by the offensive line, rushed 23 times for 123 yards and two touchdowns.

Hall's final nine carries impressed Brinkley the most. The senior had already rushed for 22- and seven-yard touchdowns, but it was those last nine carries that secured the Sailors' quarterfinal date at home against top-seeded La Habra (10-1) next week.

During a 19-play, 93-yard scoring drive, Hall touched the ball almost half the time. The drive began after the Sailors (6-5) came away with their third fumble, stopping Dana Hills (5-6) on the seven. Newport Harbor's ensuing drive began with 23 seconds left in the third quarter and it ended at the 2:45 mark in the fourth quarter with Riley Gaddis scoring on a nine-yard run to the left.

The Sailors overcame playing without three key starters and won, 32-13, advancing to the quarterfinals for the second straight season. They pulled it off in a workmanlike fashion that reminded Coach Jeff Brinkley of his old Newport Harbor teams, with long drives and pounding the ball.

"They knew we were going to run. We knew we were going to run. Everybody in the stadium knew it. But they couldn't stop it and that's a great feeling."

Five teams from the Sunset League made the postseason and four reached the quarterfinals. The Sailors made sure to join Edison, Los Alamitos and Huntington Beach by using a balanced attack and taking advantage of three turnovers.

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