The Corona del Mar High football team shined defensively in its 26-0 victory over Los Amigos in a CIF Southern Section Southern Division quarterfinal game at Bolsa Grande High.
The top-seeded Sea Kings, the defending CIF champions who play Woodbridge in the semifinals Friday night at Irvine High, allowed the Lobos to get into the red zone just once all game.
It happened on Los Amigos' second drive of the game. But on third-and-seven at the CdM nine-yard line, the snap was fumbled and CdM sophomore Hoyt Crance recovered the ball.
The Sea Kings were also effective in slowing down Los Amigos senior running back Jerry Saldivar, who entered the game as Orange County's leading rusher.
Saldivar had 24 carries for 118 yards, but 35 of those yards came on the Lobos' final drive in the waning minutes with the game already decided.
"We were able to see that [first-round] game against Estancia [where Saldivar rushed for 222 yards and three touchdowns]," CdM Coach Scott Meyer said. "A lot of talk about him this week. Some people have said that he was going to give us fits, so our defensive staff and our players were really, really determined to make sure we did a good job against him."
The person who perhaps provided motivation by saying that Saldivar could give CdM fits? That was Estancia Coach Mike Bargas, after the Eagles' loss to the Lobos.
CdM athletic director Don Grable had a bit of mixed emotions, as his current school met his former school in the playoffs for the second straight year.
Grable taught at Los Amigos for 19 years, he said. He also coached basketball.
"It was actually more peaceful than a lot of games," Grable said after the Sea Kings earned the victory. "Of course I want CdM to win, but if we ever do have to lose, I would hope it would be to the Lobos."
— Matt Szabo
With a little more than nine minutes left to play Friday night, Newport Harbor High led Villa Park in the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Southwest Division playoffs by two scores.
The Sailors, leading by nine, appeared on their way to their first semifinal appearance in seven years.
But third-seeded Villa Park responded in the fourth quarter, scoring two touchdowns to come back to beat visiting Newport Harbor, 26-21, at El Modena High last Friday night.
The Sailors' first quarterfinal game in five years ended with the same result, a loss.
"The kids played hard," said Brinkley, who led Newport Harbor to a 7-5 record, its first seven-win season in four years. "We had a chance to stop them late. Each side of the ball, we had an opportunity and we didn't get it done. You've got to give them credit. They did."
After tailback Talalelei Teaupa's 19-yard touchdown run gave the Sailors a 21-12 lead with 9:15 to go in the game, Newport Harbor struggled moving the ball.
The Sailors didn't record a first down on its last two possessions.
Villa Park running back Meki Tafuna cut the deficit to 21-19 at the 5:51 mark, when he recorded his second 11-yard touchdown run.
Villa Park got the ball back right, on the opponent's 44, after the Sailors went three-and-out and punted. The Spartans' go-ahead score came with 1:57 left, with running back Justin Mottram leaping into the end zone from one yard out.
Newport Harbor's next drive ended on downs, on Villa Park's 22, with 66 seconds left.
Villa Park (11-1) ran out the clock. The Spartans won their ninth straight game and advanced to the semifinals to play at defending Southwest Division champion Tustin (12-0) on Friday.
In the first half, Newport Harbor ran just 14 plays to Villa Park's 40.
The Sailors still went into halftime with a 14-6 lead. Despite the limited plays on offense, the Sailors produced the biggest plays, both coming in the second quarter.
The first came 22 seconds into the quarter. Quest Truxton returned a punt 84 yards for a touchdown, giving Newport Harbor a 7-6 lead.
With 1:42 left in the half, quarterback Cole Norris hit wide receiver Landon Gyulay in stride for a 53-yard touchdown pass.
Teaupa rushed 20 times for 99 yards and a touchdown against Villa Park, giving him 1,675 yards for the year.
The single-season yard total by Teaupa is the eighth best in the Sailors' record book. Teaupa surpassed Harold Shefflin's 1,618-yard season in 1942.
— David Carrillo Peñaloza