NEWPORT BEACH — On the Newport Harbor High sideline, standout players wore hooded sweatshirts, jeans, outfits not fit for a football game Thursday.
The Sailors went into the evening with a shot at sharing the Sunset League title. They looked banged up before the home game even started against Edison.
Newport Harbor's focus turned to getting healthy for the CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division playoffs next week after the Chargers clinched the outright league title with a 35-7 win.
On senior night at Newport Harbor, the Sailors missed three key seniors. Linebackers Ethan Cochran (concussion) and Grant Frazier (foot), and Kory Cablay (ankle), a wide receiver and cornerback, stood on the sideline.
Without them and junior Derek Kula (knee), a cornerback and receiver, the Sailors stood no chance at defeating Edison for the first time since 1979.
The Chargers (8-2, 5-0 in league) went undefeated in league for the second time in three years.
Newport Harbor (5-5, 3-2) finished third in league and earned the league's third and final playoff berth. The Sailors learn Sunday who their opponent will be on the road in the first round.
"Hopefully we get some guys back next week and we make a better showing in the playoffs," said Coach Jeff Brinkley, who led Newport Harbor to its third straight postseason appearance. "Don't know [if Frazier and Cablay will return next week]. All I know is Cochran's done for the year and Kula's done for the year."
Newport Harbor must improve health-wise and offensively in a hurry.
Edison held the Sailors to just three first downs through the first three quarters. If it wasn't for Titus Hasson's 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown four minutes into the opening quarter, Newport Harbor would've have been shut out of the second time this season.
While the Sailors produced less than 100 yards passing and 100 yards rushing, Edison quarterback Chase Favreau topped both marks by himself.
The senior threw for 267 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 101 yards and two touchdowns. The dual threat led the way for Edison, which has won or shared five of the past six league titles.
"We watched the highlight of the 2009 team. The [13-1] team was pretty special," said Edison Coach Dave White, referring to his team that finished alone in league and reached the section title game.
"We were playing for a championship [against Newport Harbor]."
The Chargers delivered the first blow.
Favreau found the end zone on Edison's first drive. He used his feet, moving right before breaking tackles en route to a 28-yard touchdown. Less than four minutes in, Edison matched its point total from last year's 7-0 win against Newport Harbor.
This one turned out to be more lopsided.
White, who lives in Newport Beach, is 6-0 against Brinkley. The two coaches began at their respective schools in 1986.
Both coaches are familiar with the playoffs and they expect tough playoff openers.
"Whoever you play in this division is going to be a butt-kicking team," Brinkley said. "We know what it's like going to the playoffs in this division."
The coaches in the league did not pick Newport Harbor to qualify for the playoffs, not after the Sailors lost Buzzy Yokoyama.
Yokoyama transferred to Mission Viejo for his senior year. The Sailors might face Yokoyama in the first round as the Diablos won the South Coast League.
"Who knows?" Brinkley said when asked about a possible Newport Harbor-Mission Viejo matchup. "When we had the transfer and the guy leaves you like that, leaves his friends, people kind of write you off. These guys stepped up, did a great job with not much experience. We're happy to be there."
Edison 35, Newport Harbor 7
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Edison 14 – 14 – 7 – 0 – 35
Newport Harbor 7 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 7
E – Favreau 28 run (Torgersen kick), 8:31.
NH – Hasson 90 kickoff return (Ochoa kick), 8:13.
E – Provost 34 pass from Favreau (Torgersen kick), 5:29.
E – Favreau 17 run (Torgersen kick), 7:22.
E – Hill 38 pass from Favreau (Torgersen kick), 0:57.
E – Mase fumble recovery in the end zone (Torgersen kick), 10:56.
E – Favreau, 14-101, 2 TDs.
NH – Teaupa, 5-41.
E – Favreau, 10-19-0, 267, 2 TDs.
NH – Blower, 7-14-0, 51.
E – Hill, 2-119, 1 TD.
NH – Gyulay, 2-42.