University High School, led by the legs of Jim Roberson and Gary Smarr and helped by the absence of a couple pairs of legs in the opposing backfield, defeated Newport Harbor, 24-8, in a Sea View League game Thursday at Newport Harbor.
Roberson kicked a 47-yard field goal with 3:41 left in the first half to give University (3-3-1, 1-0-1) a 3-0 lead. The field goal capped a 15-yard drive that was set up when University’s Barry Gaskins blocked a field goal attempt. Geoff Keeling recovered the block and returned it 70 yards for a touchdown, but the run was called back to the University 45 because of a holding penalty. Four plays later, Roberson kicked the field goal, his ninth of the season.
Smarr scored University’s first touchdown with 11:34 left in the second quarter on a 7-yard run. The run capped a 44-yard drive, University’s longest touchdown drive of the game.
Roberson and Smarr combined for 89 yards in the first half. Roberson was the game’s leading rusher with 112 yards on 15 carries.
Newport Harbor’s top two rushers, Tom Walker and Robbie Power, did not play in the first half. Along with four teammates, they were held out of the first half by Newport Harbor Coach Jeff Brinkley for disciplinary reasons.
“Jeff is a class guy for doing what he did,” said Mark Cunningham, University coach. “His team showed a lot of class for sticking as tough as they did.”
In the absence of Walker and Power, Newport Harbor (1-6, 0-2) relied on the pass combination of quarterback Steve Scheck and receiver Jim Stanley. They connected for 6 receptions in the first half, 4 on Newport Harbor’s game-opening drive. That drive got to the University 18, but it stalled and Newport Harbor attempted the field goal that was blocked.
Quarterback Junior Oliver scored University’s next touchdown, outracing three defenders to the left corner of the end zone with 4:33 left in the third quarter.
Smarr, who ended up with 63 yards on 11 carries, scored University’s last touchdown on a 10-yard run in the fourth quarter. The key play on that 41-yard drive was a 29-yard run by Smarr in which saw him jump over a Newport Harbor defender.