Tonight is the first round of the CIF playoffs and Newport Harbor will try to build on the terrific turnaround season they’ve already had. Despite a 1-3 start the Sailors won four of their last six games, including the thrilling upset of Los Alamitos (ranked 8th at the time) on Oct 28, to finish the season 5-5, and 3-2 in the Sunset League.
As one of the last teams to make the bracket, they face a very difficult first-round opponent in Long Beach Poly, who finished 9-1 and went undefeated in the Moore League. In their final six games, Long Beach Poly averaged more than 50 points per game while only allowing 10 points per game against them.
Had it not been for a close road loss against Mission Viejo, Long Beach Poly could very well be the top overall seed in the Pac5.
If the Sailors are going to have a chance they will need another great game out of Titus Hasson. Their senior running back and kick returner was the key ingredient in the win over Los Alamitos three weeks ago, which earned him the OC Varsity Football Athlete of the Week. In that game he ran for more than 250 yards with 2 TDs, and added in a receiving touchdown for good measure. He’s also explosive on kick return, which he showed last Friday when he turned the field to score an 80-yard kick return against the Sunset League’s No. 1 team, Edison.
Tonight’s game against Long Beach Poly is scheduled at 7 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Long Beach – at 5005 Lew Davis Drive, which is off of the Lakewood exit of the 405.
The last time Newport Harbor won a CIF championship was in 1999.
– Will Salem | NB Indy