Newport Teams Head for Playoffs

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By Brian Lichterman | Sports Editor


The regular season is over, and the playoffs are here with Newport Beach teams headed into the first round.

Newport Harbor, Sage Hill, and Corona del Mar’s varsity football teams are all preparing for their games tonight.  Newport Harbor takes on Bishop Alemany at 7 p.m. in Mission Hills, Sage Hill takes on Twentynine Palms and also plays at 7 p.m. in Twentynine Palms, and Corona del Mar stays at home and hosts Ocean View at 7:30 p.m. at Davidson Field.

The squads all won their final regular season games, a couple of which had playoff seating and qualifying implications.

Newport Harbor needed to win just to get into CIF and Corona del Mar won a squeaker to win the Pacific Coast League title outright for the first time since 1988.

Perhaps the most impressive Newport high school team, the Sea Kings were absolutely pushed to their limit last week in defeating Beckman, 17-15.

It was only 7-0 at the half, after a TD pass from Mitch Gardner to Matt English, but the fourth quarter got pretty dicey.

After a Beckman field goal, CdM’s Andrew Boehm answered with a 29-yarder of his own to make the score 10-3.  Then, after Beckman drove the field and scored a TD, the coach elected to go for 2, but the rush attempt failed and the score was then 10-9.

After a muffed punt by Beckman’s return man, English recovered the fumble and set the Sea Kings up on the Patriots’ 18-yard line. Erik Fisher eventually ran in a TD from the 5-yard line and Boehm’s kick made it 17-9.

An unfamiliar feeling must have set in when Beckman scored on a 51-yard TD pass with 53 seconds left in the game, on a fourth down play, and was a 2-point conversion away from a tie game.  Luckily for CdM, the pass attempt failed and the Sea Kings won the game and the league title outright.

Meanwhile, the Sailors avoided letting their fate be decided by a coin flip as they shutout Fountain Valley in their final game of the season, 35-0.

In doing so, they clinched the third and final seat in the CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division playoffs.  If they’d lost, a coin flip would have basically decided who would take the last spot.

Harbor let their offense do the talking with arguably the player of the game, star running back Buzzy Yokoyama who pitched in with 221 yards and 3 TDs.  Austin Rios and Cole Blower each threw a TD and Ryan Andrews and Drew Diller each caught one.

The defense shined brightly as well, pitching a shutout and totaling only 7 points allowed in their last three games. A standout performance among the terrific defense was Landon Guyulay blocking punts on back-to-back Fountain Valley possessions.

The Harbor Football Boosters are providing a “fun bus” to the game at Bishop Alemany High School in the San Fernando Valley that will leave the 15th St. senior parking lot at 4 p.m. sharp.  Those want to take advantage are advised to come early as the bus is first-come first-served.  The bus holds 45 people and the fee is $20 per person.

Sage Hill won their last game of the season in stunning fashion, as well, beating Crean Lutheran South High School 50-20.  The Lightning finished the regular season 2-1 in league and 8-2 overall.  They will now travel to take on Twentynine Palms as the home team in the CIF Southern Section, East Valley bracket.

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