Hall goes all in for NHHS

Daily Pilot High School Football Player of the Week

Hall fills in at tailback, rushes for 123 yards, two TDs in Sailors' 32-13 CIF first-round win at Dana Hills last week.

November 21, 2013|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza
(Don Leach / Daily…)

The days leading up to Newport Harbor High's playoff opener, Garrett Hall split the tailback duties in practice. Coaches never disclosed which of the two backs might carry the load with starter Chance Siemonsma out with a leg injury.

The start in the backfield didn't go to Hall. From the sideline, he watched Riley Gaddis get the nod at running back in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Southwest Division playoffs at Dana Hills last week. Hall rooted him on.

When Hall earned his shot to run at the start of the second quarter, he made the most of it. He carried the ball seven times for 38 yards during the Sailors' 10-play, 83-yard scoring drive that gave Newport Harbor its first lead.

Hall capped the drive with a seven-yard touchdown run, matching his jersey number. He never touched the ball again until the first play from scrimmage in the second half.


Before the first half ended, Hall impacted the game. Hall, who has started at free safety all season, rallied the defense. The Dolphins, trailing 13-7, reached the Sailors' two. Hall began to fire up his teammates near the goal line.

"Let's hold them to a field goal," Hall says he yelled.

The Sailors responded with something even better. The defense forced a turnover on the two with 35 seconds left. Linebacker Keaton Cablay recovered the fumble and Newport Harbor stopped the Dolphins from retaking the lead.

As for who caused the fumble, which helped the Sailors keep the lead for good en route to a 32-13 win, that's a different story. Hall believed his helmet popped the ball out of the quarterback's hands.

The next day, evidence showed Gaddis' helmet jarred the ball loose from the quarterback when he tried to extend the ball.

"I lost a couple of bucks," Hall says of a bet he made with Gaddis. "Some guy took a photo of the play and Riley knocked it out."

Hall was more than OK with that, as he was the one who delivered the knockout blow on the ground and with the ball. The Sailors made him the featured back and he didn't disappoint, rushing 23 times for 123 yards and two touchdowns.

The senior's running style won over Coach Jeff Brinkley. Hall quickly hit the hole and punished defenders, allowing him to produce a career game and extend Newport Harbor's season. With injuries to key starters affecting the Sailors late in the year, they needed someone to rise up.

"The guys that were the backups, you know, stepped up and played great for us," Brinkley says. "That's why you got to prepare your other guys."

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