VALLEY GLEN — Buzzy Yokoyama was out of breath, trying to make sense of what just happened on the football field. Everyone wanted a piece of the Newport Harbor High running back.
Teammates, coaches, fans and parents surrounded Yokoyama. He created a buzz every time he ran with the ball against Loyola of Los Angeles.
Thirty-five times the junior carried it, and 294 yards later, No. 2 now ranks No. 4 all-time at Newport Harbor when it comes to single-game performances. The one Yokoyama turned in on Friday night was an unforgettable one.
In his second start in the backfield, Yokoyama sped past would-be tacklers, ran over them and stiffed armed them away en route to leading the Sailors to a 35-28 victory at Los Angeles Valley College.
Yokoyama scored each of his three rushing touchdowns in the second half, when it mattered most to keep the eighth-ranked team in the CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division undefeated two games into the season.
The year started with many doubting whether anyone could step in at tailback after Cedric Whitaker did not return after a stellar last season. Through two games, Yokoyama has shown he can play.
The 5-foot-10, 198-pounder is pound-for-pound one of the top backs in Orange County. Like every running back, the first people Yokoyama thanked were those big boys up front doing all the dirty work.
"I could not have done it without them," said Yokoyama, crediting left tackle JB Salem, left guard Trevor Lawrence, center Connor Miki, right guard Ted Barry and right tackle Dillon Gillette.
"I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing."
Quarterback Austin Rios likes what Yokoyama has done so far, keeping the pressure off him.
Rios will continue to hand off the ball to Yokoyama. It was Rios' 18th birthday and he celebrated by watching Yokoyama run crazy.
What Yokoyama did was run all over Loyola (1-2) and into the school record books.
Yokoyama tied Andre Stewart's 294-yard performance on the ground, which Stewart recorded 11 years ago. Yokoyama was in first grade back then.
Yokoyama finished 17 yards short of breaking the school record of 310 yards set by Stewart. There are many more games for Yokoyama to chase the mark.
The next game is a big one. Newport Harbor plays Corona del Mar in the Battle of the Bay. Both teams enter the rivalry game undefeated.
Yokoyama made sure the Sailors stayed perfect by giving them the lead every time Loyola went ahead or tied the game in the second half.
The first touchdown by Yokoyama went for 17 yards, putting Newport Harbor ahead, 21-14, late in the third quarter.
With Loyola quarterback Jerry Neuheisel throwing four touchdowns and for 309 yards, Yokoyama put on a running back clinic in front of Neuheisel's dad, Rick, the head football coach at UCLA.
Rick's son tied the game for Loyola at 21-21 after hooking up with Kodi Whitfield on a 34-yard touchdown pass with 1:42 left in the third quarter. Neuheisel and Whitfield connected on three touchdowns.
The three touchdowns that proved to be the biggest were the ones by Yokoyama. He ripped a 44-yard touchdown run with eight minutes to go to give Newport Harbor a 28-21 lead. The run gave him 261 yards on the night. Yokoyama was not finished.
The Cubs tried a fake punt on fourth down near midfield. Guess who pressured the punter to throw the ball early? Yokoyama, he was all over the field.
The Sailors took over on Loyola's 48. After the Cubs stuffed Yokoyama on back-to-back plays, no one was stopping him on his fourth carry of the drive.
Yokoyama went left, determined to fight off defenders, some bounced off him before he raced in to the end zone for a 26-yard score. The Sailors took a 35-21 lead with 2:39 left.
They got the ball back at the end, after the Cubs made it a seven-point game. It was a possible chance for Yokoyama to top 300 yards, but the Sailors decided to take a knee and bow down to Yokoyama. He deserved it.
Newport Harbor 35, Loyola 28
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Newport 7 – 6 – 8 – 14 — 35
Loyola 0 – 7 – 14 – 7 — 28
NH – Andrews 15 pass from Rios (Ochoa kick), 1:24.
L – Whitfield 9 pass from Neuheisel (Ukropina kick), 11:54.
NH – Andrews 1 run (kick failed), 9:19.
L – Baker 75 pass from Neuheisel (Ukropina kick), 11:37.
NH – Yokoyama 17 run (Truxton pass from Rios), 3:59.
L – Whitfield 34 pass from Neuheisel (Ukropina kick), 1:42.
NH – Yokoyama 44 run (Ochoa kick), 8:00.
NH – Yokoyama 26 run (Ochoa kick), 2:39.
L – Whitfield 9 pass from Neuheisel (Ukropina kick), :31.
NH – Yokoyama, 35-294, 3 TDs.
L – Baker, 15-73.
NH – Rios, 11-16-0, 113, 1 TD.
L – Neuheisel, 18-29-0, 309, 4 TDs.
NH – Norton, 5-40.
L – Whitfield, 10-120, 3 TDs.