The Newport Harbor High football team has been on a roll, winning four straight since its league-opening setback to Edison. Three of those games have been close.
Friday's road victory against Los Alamitos went into overtime after quarterback Cole Norris brought back Newport Harbor yet again.
The sophomore, who recorded 247 of 335 his passing yards and four touchdown passes in the second half, engineered an eight-play, 69-yard game-tying drive in regulation, using just 44 seconds.
Norris hooked up with wide receiver Quest Truxton on an eight-yard touchdown pass, the third scoring connection between the two. With 20 seconds left, the Sailors trailed, 28-26, and needed a two-point conversion to tie the game and send it into overtime.
After two defensive penalties, Norris handed the ball off to running back Riley Gaddis and the sophomore scored to even the game.
In overtime, Los Alamitos had the first chance on offense, starting on the Sailors' 25-yard line. The defense stopped the Griffins, who went for it on fourth-and-six from the 11. Ramsey Hufford, a junior defensive tackle, sacked quarterback Cody Marshall to set up Newport Harbor with a chance to win it.
The Sailors came up short on converting a first down and they went to their kicker. Schultz, a sophomore, had struggled, missing a key extra-point kick that would've tied the score at 21-21 with 4:18 left to play in regulation.
Before Schultz could attempt a game-winning field-goal try, a false start penalty on the Sailors moved the ball back five yards. From 37 yards out, Schultz delivered one of the biggest wins Brinkley has ever experienced with the Sailors.
"That was great for him," Brinkley said of Schultz. "I'm thrilled for him."
Perfect is how Corona del Mar High capped Pacific Coast League play.
The Sea Kings beat rival Beckman, 33-7, at Tustin High on Friday to win every league game for the first time in program history.
CdM, which finished 5-0 in league, came close last year to an undefeated league title before losing to Beckman, 42-37, in the league finale.
After closing out the regular season on a perfect note, the Sea Kings want to close out the CIF Southern Section Southern Division playoffs perfect.
The defending section champion Sea Kings (8-2 overall) earned the top seed in the Southern Division and will open the postseason against Anaheim (5-5) on Thursday at 7 p.m. Anaheim (5-5) finished third in the Orange League.
Estancia High clinched second place outright in the Orange Coast League with Friday's 51-17 victory over Calvary Chapel on senior night.
Coach Mike Bargas is hopeful that his team is finally getting healthy, heading into the CIF Southern Section Southern Division playoffs. Estancia plays host to Los Amigos in the first round Friday night.
Against Calvary Chapel, Estancia got back standout right guard/linebacker Adahir Aguilera, who saw limited action. Aguilera had been out for three weeks with a knee injury and, while Bargas said he was "really rusty" against Calvary Chapel, it was good to see him on the field.
Estancia also got back senior lineman/kicker Dan Cabrera, after a one-week absence due to a minor ankle sprain. Cabrera made five conversion kicks Friday, as well as a 41-yard field goal.
Bargas said Estancia did lose safety Cole Mensinger (knee) and linebacker Jackson Letterman (Achilles) during the game.
"Hopefully those guys will heal up and we'll be at full strength [this] week, minus Kevin Peters of course," Bargas said.
Peters is out for the year with an ACL injury.
The season is over for Costa Mesa High, which finished fourth in the Orange Coast League and did not receive the Southern Division's lone at-large playoff berth.
But Coach Wally Grant can't help but be excited when he talks about next year's team. Having junior fullback/linebacker Oronde Crenshaw back for his senior year is a big reason why.
Crenshaw had another huge game in the finale, a 35-28 loss to league champion Laguna Beach. He had 43 carries for 280 yards and all four of the Mustangs' touchdowns. It was his third straight league game with more than 250 rushing yards.
Despite receiving limited carries in most of the Mustangs' early games, Crenshaw finished the season with 1,391 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns. Grant called Crenshaw, who also led the Mustangs in tackles, a Division I college player on either side of the ball.
"If that man stays healthy, who knows what kind of numbers he'll put up?" Grant said. "That's three games over . So, what's 10 times ? Twenty-five hundred yards? So that's his goal isn't it? If he stays healthy, there's no reason why he can't accomplish that. He's going to be absolutely fun to watch."
CdM kicker Grif Amies is now the all-time Orange County leader for field goals in a season.
The senior converted two field goals against Beckman, from 27 and 33 yards, giving him 18 for the year. He broke the mark held by Newport Harbor's Art Sorce and El Modena's Tim Hatcher, who each made 16 field goals in 1974 and 1988, respectively.
Amies is now five successful field goals away from breaking the CIF Southern Section mark held by Chris Sailer, who made 22 for Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks in 1994.
Amies is 18 for 21 in field-goal attempts this season.
Truxton's numbers — 12 catches for 216 yards and three touchdowns — are remarkable for one game. Those stats were almost half of his totals for each category through the first nine games of the season.
While most of his damage against Los Alamitos came in the second half (seven catches for 161 yards and three touchdowns) Truxton made a big play on defense in the first half.
Truxton, playing cornerback, came down with an interception near the pylon midway through the second quarter to keep the deficit against Los Alamitos at 14-0. The Sailors went into halftime down just two scores, instead of three.
The final score of 51-17 was impressive for Estancia. But Calvary Chapel scored touchdowns twice in three minutes in the third quarter, aided by an Estancia fumble.
That narrowed Estancia's lead to 38-17. Bargas was forced to put his starters back in for a series, which ended when quarterback Brad Wilson hit Henry Vasquez for an 18-yard touchdown.
Estancia senior running back Robert Murtha, who had 18 carries for 228 yards and three touchdowns, had his lone second-half carry on the series.
"Calvary Chapel's got some good players on their team," Bargas said. "They gave us everything we wanted ... We don't want to win this game but be unhappy about the performance we finished off with. We needed the momentum. Otherwise, we would have been melancholy about this win, even though we did a lot of good things. I always tell the guys, it's not how you start, it's how you finish."
Grant said the Mustangs also have at least three other Division I talents returning, including junior tackle/nose guard Marco Zalpa, sophomore lineman Sam Bunker and junior receiver/defensive back Quinten Bell.
"It's going to be a lot of fun next year, hands down," Grant said. "Costa Mesa High School is going to be a fun, enjoyable, winning environment."
Penalties hurt Costa Mesa against Laguna Beach. The Mustangs were flagged nine times for 74 yards.
Still, Mesa played Laguna the closest of any team in league. And the Mustangs were not blown out in any of their six losses this year. The most lopsided defeat was a 21-6 loss to Pacifica in Week 4.
"It's not a round ball, so the bounces don't always go your way," Grant said. "This year, honest to goodness, the bounces didn't go our way. But the kids didn't quit. This was a great group of kids. We were not picked to do anything this year, and we weren't blown out of any game this year. We just did some real foolish things in every game that ended up costing us."
By halftime, CdM quarterback Cayman Carter was on his way to breaking the school record for touchdown passes in a game.
Carter threw for four scores in the first half against Beckman, but the senior sat out the second half, leaving him one touchdown pass shy of tying the school mark of five. Brent Lawson and Dave Terry hold the record.
With CdM up, 33-0, at halftime, Coach Scott Meyer said he didn't want to risk Carter getting injured.
— From staff reports