Two-Minute Drill: Brinkley keeps Tars alive

Longtime Newport Harbor coach has Sailors in the second round of CIF playoffs for second straight year.

November 20, 2013


•For the first time since the 2004-05 seasons, Newport Harbor High has won back-to-back opening-round games in the CIF Southern Section playoffs.

The Sailors traveled to Dana Hills and prevailed in the Southwest Division first-round game, 32-13, last week. Newport Harbor (6-5) advanced to the quarterfinals to play host to La Habra (10-1) on Friday at 7 p.m.


Coach Jeff Brinkley, who improved to 16-6 in playoff openers in his 28 years with the Sailors, is glad Newport Harbor gets to play at Davidson Field next.

"No. 1 team," Brinkley said of the Highlanders, "but we get them at home."

Newport Harbor is asking all of its fans to wear Navy blue for the game.

•Newport Harbor's quarterfinal game with La Habra features two of the top coaches in Orange County.

La Habra's Frank Mazzotta has led the Highlanders to six CIF Southern Section titles, including three of the past five Southwest Division crowns. He is 154-49-1 in his 16 years in charge of La Habra.

Brinkley has guided the Sailors to three section championships, the last one in 2005. He's 226-109-3 in his 28 years at the helm of Newport Harbor.

Brinkley and Mazzotta have never coached against each other while at their respective schools.

Newport Harbor leads the series against La Habra at 5-4. Brinkley is 3-1 against the Highlanders.

The last time the Sailors played La Habra was in 1990.

•Half of the teams in the CIF Southern Section Southwest Division playoffs are from the Sunset League.

The Sailors, Los Alamitos, Edison and Huntington Beach are the four Sunset League teams in the quarterfinals.

While Newport Harbor (6-5) is at home against top-seeded La Habra (10-1), Los Alamitos (9-2) plays at Fullerton (9-2), third-seeded Edison (8-3) plays Villa Park (9-2) at El Modena High, and Huntington Beach (6-5) plays host to San Juan Hills (10-1).

If all the Sunset League teams come out on top, the Southwest Division semifinals will feature Newport Harbor against Los Alamitos and Edison against Huntington Beach.

The Sailors last reached the semifinals in 2005, when they went on to win the CIF Southern Section Division VI title.

Last year, Newport Harbor lost on the road in the quarterfinals to Villa Park, 26-21.

Edison went on to win the Southwest Division title last year, beating Villa Park, 28-10. The section crown is the only one Dave White, a Newport Beach resident, has earned as the head coach of the Chargers. He began at Edison in 1986.

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