The hurry-up offense worked. The pace in which it covered 82 yards wasn't fast. Villa Park used 18 plays, eating almost 9 1/2 minutes off the clock to take the lead first.
Tafuna put the Spartans ahead on an 11-yard run, aided by a block by quarterback Dylan Osborne. They tried to run again, opting for two points, instead of one. Instead of running Tafuna, their 1,000-yard back, the Spartans used a little trickery and gave it to a defensive end.
The play backfired as Newport Harbor stopped it. The stance gave the Sailors life after they failed to stop whatever Villa Park ran before the two-point try.
Offensively, the Sailors showed very little in the first quarter, or for the entire first half, collecting just two first downs. None of it mattered. The two big plays before halftime belonged to them.
Twenty-two seconds into the second quarter, Quest Truxton gave Newport Harbor life. He probably never should have been in the situation to give the Sailors a lead, if not for a Villa Park receiver having a 16-yard pass hit him right in the back.
The receiver never turned around to catch the ball and convert a first down on third-and-14. Instead of having the ball on the Sailors' 30 to start the second quarter, the Spartans punted from near midfield. They kicked themselves after watching Truxton return the punt 84 yards for a touchdown.
Truxton fielded the ball on the 16, and then hit traffic, before going to the right, toward the Villa Park sideline. Once he got near there, he exploded up field and sprung loose. Near the opponent's 40, Truxton cut to the left and he was gone.
"I felt like going into the second half, we had most of the momentum," said Gyulay, whose team lost it in the fourth quarter, costing Newport Harbor its season.
CIF Southern Section Southwest Division playoffs
Villa Park 26, Newport Harbor 21
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Newport Harbor 0 – 14 – 0 – 7 – 21
Villa Park 6 – 0 – 6 – 14 – 26
VP – Tafuna 11 run (run failed), 3:39.