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High School Football: Newport Harbor upsets La Habra

Sailors shock Southwest Division's top team and punch ticket to semifinals.

November 22, 2013|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza

On the 20-yard line, before the opening kickoff at Newport Harbor High, someone dressed as a Highlander played the bagpipes.

The Sailors almost ended up burying the rest of the Highlanders from La Habra early on Friday night.

Fifteen minutes into the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Southwest Division playoffs, Newport Harbor jumped out to a 21-point lead. Every play the Sailors drew up through the air worked against the top seed. The only other time La Habra trailed by 21 points was two months ago, when it lost to Mission Viejo, which is ranked No. 5 in the state by CalHiSports.com.

The Sailors were on the verge of handing La Habra its second setback of the year, until the Highlanders found life in the second quarter. The hosts knew it wasn't over after their fast start.

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The Highlanders rallied to take the lead late in the fourth quarter, but the Sailors had one more touchdown in them. Quarterback Cole Norris went to his favorite target of the evening, Quest Truxton.

With 50 seconds left, Norris hooked up with Truxton on a 16-yard touchdown pass, their fourth together, and the Sailors stunned La Habra, 49-48, at Davidson Field. They pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Coach Jeff Brinkley's 28 years with the Sailors.

"It's going to be one of those that people are going to talk about," said Brinkley, adding that the last time Newport Harbor beat a No. 1 seed in the quarterfinals was in 1992 against Riverside Rubidoux. "We have a lot of tradition here and our kids know how to win. They played their [butts] off tonight."

Two of those guys who played lights out were Norris and Truxton.

Norris passed for 474 yards and five touchdowns, completing 36 of 63 passes. Truxton finished with 14 catches for 233 yards and four touchdowns.

While four of his touchdown passes came in the first half, Norris' biggest throws came on the Sailors' final drive. They began it on their 19, with 2 minutes left, knowing that a touchdown and a successful extra-point kick earned the Sailors (7-5) their first semifinal appearance in eight years.

La Habra had gone ahead, 48-42, on quarterback Eric Barriere's 48-yard touchdown pass to tailback Carlos Martin. Cory Stowell came up with the big play, blocking the Highlanders' extra-point kick.

The missed opportunity fired up the Sailors. They went to what worked against the Highlanders, Norris firing passes to Truxton and Stowell (11 catches for 113 yards and one touchdown).

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