Newport Harbor loses line of scrimmage battle, game at Chino Hills

Newport Harbor loses line of scrimmage battle, game at Chino Hills
Peter Lofthouse, seen coaching on Aug. 24, suffered his first setback as Newport Harbor High's football coach in a 42-7 setback at Chino Hills on Thursday. (Christine Cotter)

Little went right for the Newport Harbor High football team on Thursday.

The Sailors were beaten at the line of scrimmage all night, and often, they could not stay out of their own way.


For its part, host Chino Hills took advantage of the miscues, and it wound up with its first win of the season.

Walter Carl III ran for 195 yards and four touchdowns, as Chino Hills beat Newport Harbor 42-7 in a nonleague game.


James Murillo added 173 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns from Brayden Fawcett.

Chino Hills (1-2) had suffered two losses by a total of five points to open the season. Sailors coach Peter Lofthouse called the Huskies one of Southern California’s best 0-2 teams.

“Turnovers killed us on offense, gave us some bad field position, but defensively, [Carl III] is a hell of a player,” Lofthouse said. “We had difficulty tackling him. Their offensive line is a very good offensive line. They’re big. They’re physical. They won the line of scrimmage battle.”

Newport Harbor (1-1) looked at multiple options at the quarterback position again. Clay Liolios drew the start for the second straight game, but his night, and that of the Sailors, was quickly derailed.

The Sailors appeared to be in good position to strike first when Raphael Cruz opened the game with a 52-yard kickoff return. Newport Harbor set up shop at the Chino Hills 28, but Liolios was picked off by Nathan Knuebuhler on the opening series.

“We were just doing what we were coached,” Knuebuhler said after his two-interception performance. “We just went out there, tried our hardest, and we just played. It’s our favorite thing to do. Play our game.”

It was the first of six interceptions for the Huskies, four of which came from the right arm of Liolios. The other two came on consecutive drives with Rory McCrory spelling Liolios at quarterback.

Cole Lavin also got his first look at quarterback, completing his lone pass to Aidan Goltz for two yards. It was the only catch made by Goltz, who produced 112 receiving yards and two touchdowns in the Sailors’ opener against Redwood City Sequoia.

The Huskies’ defensive line of Knuebuhler, Gabriel Tamba and Ethan Burgueno were responsible for much of the Sailors’ offensive struggles.

“Their energy level kept up,” Huskies coach Chris Stevens said. “They did so much upfront that even helped us on the back end by flushing the quarterback, and even when they weren’t making tackles in the run game, they were doing so much in the passing game to disrupt.”

Samuel Carrillo, Eli Iverson, Brett MacKay and Tamba also had interceptions for the Huskies. Carl III was grateful for the field position.

“The defense set us up with some great field position,” he said. “As long as we keep playing like that, it’s easier to score. It gets easier and easier.”

Chino Hills led 21-0 at halftime.

Newport Harbor got a stop coming out of the halftime locker room, and a couple of big plays followed. Cruz returned the punt 21 yards, and Jake Keliikoa took the handoff on the first play of the drive 34 yards to the end zone.

“I liked the response when they came out,” Lofthouse said. “We talked about getting a quick stop. We got a nice return, and then the offense came right out and scored a touchdown. That’s what we talked about doing is to make it a ball game.”

The Sailors’ special teams play was a positive. Cruz had two significant returns, and punter Rich Lemmon again left a couple of kicks near the opponent’s 10-yard line.

“Special teams has been a bright spot, but there are other areas that we have to get better in,” Lofthouse said.

As for an update on first-string running back Colin Gregg (knee), Lofthouse said that Gregg had an MRI, but the results of it have not come back yet.



Chino Hills 42, Newport Harbor 7


Newport Harbor 0 – 0 – 7 – 0 — 7

Chino Hills 14 – 7 – 21 – 0 — 42


CH – Murillo 63 pass from Fawcett (Chavers kick), 10:36.

CH – Carl III 26 run (Chavers kick), 3:48.


CH – Carl III 14 run (Chavers kick), 8:06.


NH – Keliikoa 34 run (Starnes kick), 9:21.

CH – Carl III 12 run (Chavers kick), 5:12.

CH – Murillo 63 pass from Fawcett (Chavers kick), 4:29.

CH – Carl III 12 run (Chavers kick), :16.


NH – Keliikoa, 11-54, 1 TD.

CH – Carl III, 21-195, 4 TDs.


NH – Liolios, 3-13-4, 12; McCrory, 2-4-2, 19.

CH – Fawcett, 13-18-0, 210, 2 TDs.


NH – Walker, 3-17.

CH – Murillo, 6-173, 2 TDs.