Daily Pilot – The Newport Harbor High football team had its first home game at renovated Davidson Field on Friday night, and it was clear that the Sailors were working some kinks out.
The announcer’s microphone went dead in the second quarter, and there were no AA batteries nearby. The game went most of the quarter without any announcing at all, before some batteries were found.
On the field, Newport Harbor went a bit longer than that before running out of juice. But junior running back Walter Carl III and visiting Chino Hills owned the fourth quarter to earn a 42-21 nonleague win and drop the Sailors to 0-2 this season.
Carl put in a huge game, with 221 yards rushing and five total touchdowns. The first four came on the ground, including one for 80 yards, before he caught a quick 15-yard screen pass from quarterback James Linn midway through the fourth quarter to help ice the game for the Huskies.
Chino Hills (3-0), which overcame a 16-point fourth-quarter deficit last week to win in overtime over Diamond Ranch, again found the spark late. The Sailors, meanwhile, were left searching for answers.
It’s just the third time in coach Jeff Brinkley’s 32-year tenure that Newport Harbor has started 0-2, and the first time since 2012. It won’t get easier, as the Sailors play cross-town rival Corona del Mar in the Battle of the Bay game Sept. 15. The Sea Kings have won the game each of the last four years.
“Early on we played fairly tough, and then we let it get away from us,” Brinkley said. “Hopefully we can improve a little bit until we get into league, and then make some form of a run at getting into our playoff division [CIF Southern Section Division 6].”
Junior quarterback Sam Barela had a solid game for the Sailors, who never led. Early on, he had the connection working with senior receiver Jake Bashore after Chino Hills went up 14-0 in the first quarter.
Barela responded, hitting Bashore on a 65-yard touchdown pass two plays later. Late in the first half, he again found Bashore, who made a difficult catch in the back corner of the end zone to help pull the Sailors within 21-14 at halftime.
Bashore had seven catches for 151 yards at halftime, but just two for 19 yards in the second half. The Huskies also shut down the Sailors’ running game, as Newport Harbor netted just 17 rushing yards on 17 carries. Fifteen of those came on a quarterback scramble by Barela.
The running game was also a problem for Newport Harbor, ranked No. 5 in Division 6, in last week’s 33-7 road loss at Pacifica.
“Absolutely, we’ve got to run the ball better,” Brinkley said. “I told the kids going into this game, we didn’t run the ball worth a [darn] last week. And we didn’t run it worth a [darn] this week. We need to improve.”
The Sailors still stayed in the game in the second half. After Barela’s scramble, he capped a 72-yard drive by finding junior Brian Bailey on a four-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter. Again, the Sailors were within a touchdown, at 28-21.
But they wouldn’t score again. Chino Hills would, first on the quick 15-yard screen pass to Carl. Then, after a Newport Harbor possession ended with a fumble recovered by Huskies linebacker Michael Rosales, the visitors had excellent field position at the Sailors’ 36-yard line midway through the fourth quarter.
They took advantage of it. After a 26-yard pass to Bradley Davis gave Chino Hills a first-and-goal, finally someone other than Carl found the end zone. This time, it was Carl blocking for his quarterback, who scored on an eight-yard option play with 4:15 remaining.
After Chino Hills freshman kicker Gabriel Chavers made his sixth extra point, the game was out of reach, with Chino Hills up by three touchdowns.
“It’s good, because it shows how well we are conditioned,” Carl said of his team’s fourth-quarter proficiency so far this year. “We just have to keep fighting until the last whistle. We have to stay consistent.”
The Sailors will be searching for that consistency heading into next week’s big game. Raphael Cruz had an interception, while Jack Phillips, Billy Hanck and Spencer Blake had sacks to lead the defensive effort Friday night.
Chino Hills 42, Newport Harbor 21
Chino Hills………………..14 7 7 14 — 42
Newport Harbor….……….7 7 7 0 — 21
CH – Carl 1 run (Chavers kick), 5:18.
CH – Carl 1 run (Chavers kick), 1:39.
NH – Bashore 65 pass from Barela (Schroeder kick), 0:43.
CH – Carl 80 run (Chavers kick), 2:51.
NH – Bashore 10 pass from Barela (Schroeder kick), 1:35.
CH – Carl 4 run (Chavers kick), 5:35.
NH – Bailey 4 pass from Barela (Schroeder kick), 2:10.
CH – Carl 15 pass from Linn (Chavers kick), 7:24.
CH – Linn 8 run (Chavers kick), 4:15.
CH – Carl, 27-221, 4 TDs.
NH – Barela, 3-15.
CH – Linn, 9-15-1, 96, 1 TD.
NH – Barela, 19-36-0, 251, 3 TDs.
CH – Davis, 2-33.
NH – Bashore, 9-170, 2 TDs.