CdM seeks to end streak

Corona del Mar High and Newport Harbor aren't playing the Battle of the Bay in their backyard.

The 50th edition of the rivalry football game has moved to Costa Mesa.

Coach Scott Meyer said his Sea Kings chose to schedule their home game against the Sailors on Friday at Orange Coast College to have a home-field edge.

CdM, ranked No. 2 in the CIF Southern Section Southern Division, might not even need it when the game kicks off at 7 p.m.

The Sea Kings enter the contest perfect through three games in Meyer's first year, while the Sailors are reeling. The Sailors are off to their first 0-2 start in Coach Jeff Brinkley's 26 years at the helm.

The Sailors are now trying to avoid a 0-3 start, which last happened 30 years ago. What Newport Harbor has going for it is it owns a 36-13 advantage against CdM.

Newport Harbor has also won the last four Battle of the Bays by an average of four touchdowns per game.

This season, however, the Sailors haven't come close to producing four touchdowns in two games. They are averaging seven points per game.

Offense has been an issue for Newport Harbor, a victim of a shutout last week at home. Loyola of Los Angeles defeated the Sailors, 27-0, and became the first nonleague opponent in eight years to blank Newport Harbor.

While Newport Harbor has struggled in the past two weeks, CdM has pulled off come-from-behind wins twice during the same period.

One of those wins came at Huntington Beach, which plays in the competitive Sunset League with Newport Harbor. Brinkley said before the season that Huntington Beach would be tough this year.

The coaches in the Sunset League picked the Sailors to finish in fourth place in league play, behind Huntington Beach.

The Sea Kings made sure to come out in front of Huntington Beach, 28-21, on Sept. 9. Running back Erik Fisher scored the game-winning touchdown on a one-yard run with 25 seconds left to play.

The ground game has been crucial for the Sea Kings' early success, not so much for Newport Harbor.

CdM is averaging 165 yards rushing per game. Newport Harbor has rushed for just 190 total yards. No running back has come close to topping 100 yards in a game for the Sailors.

Things are bad when Newport Harbor's backup quarterback, Zach Wade, led the team in rushing with 27 yards last week. And he entered the game midway through the fourth quarter to replace Cole Blower.

Newport Harbor's leading rusher is averaging 36 yards per game, four yards less than CdM quarterback Brent Lawson is at this point. The Sailors have found it hard to replace Buzzy Yokoyama, who transferred to Mission Viejo High for his senior year.

Through the first two games last year, Yokoyama compiled 410 yards and three touchdowns on 54 carries and the Sailors began undefeated. How times have changed at Newport Harbor.

Injuries to key starters have affected the Sailors. Senior offensive lineman Ted Barry missed the 35-14 season-opening loss at Trabuco Hills with an ankle injury, and last week Newport Harbor was without senior tight end Vince Aqueveque (concussion), senior linebacker Stone Manoa (shoulder) and junior defensive lineman Zach Cornwell, who is out for the year with a knee injury.

The Sea Kings lost senior tight end Matt English to a leg injury in the second game of the year. Grant Garrett, a senior linebacker and kicker, is dealing with an ankle issue.

The setbacks for both teams have been hard to overcome, especially for the Sailors.

The results haven't been there for Newport Harbor. Brinkley doesn't see this week's game as a must-win situation. Neither does Meyer.

Yes, the game doesn't mean much when it comes to qualifying for the playoffs out of their respective leagues, but this is for the city championship, even if the game is in a different city.

Twitter: @dcpenaloza

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