Cablay makes plays with purpose

By the time a football player at Newport Harbor High becomes a key senior, he tends to want a single-digit jersey.

Kory Cablay has worn No. 34 ever since he joined the program as a freshman. He has stuck with the number for two reasons.

His father, Ken, wore No. 34 as a football player at Oceanside High.

His older brother, Kyle, could no longer wear No. 34 as a football player at Newport Harbor three years ago.

"He had a medical condition that made him stop playing. He has a rare birth defect called AVM," Kory said of arteriovenous malformation, adding it is the complex tangle of arteries and veins that develop when the capillaries are missing in one area of the brain. "It was a pretty big blow. He couldn't [participate] in contact sports.

"Obviously, it's a personal motivation for not only me with sports, but with grades and in life … because there [are] people [like my older brother] who don't have the opportunities [I do]."

One of those is playing football. While Kyle graduated from Newport Harbor in 2010, he still goes to the school's football games.

Kory not only plays for the Sailors. The number in the front and back of Kory's jersey represents Kyle as well.

Kory has made Kyle and the rest of his family proud, helping the Sailors stay in contention for a Sunset League title.

The status of Kory is up in the air after the senior sprained his ankle during Newport Harbor's 24-7 win against Marina on Thursday. If it wasn't for Kory's performance the previous week, the Sailors (5-4, 3-1 in league) wouldn't be in the position they are in heading into the league finale against Edison (7-2, 4-0).

Kory kept Newport Harbor's hopes of sharing the league crown for the first time since 2008 alive. He also helped the team's chances of returning to the CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division playoffs for a third straight year.

Two grabs Kory made last week proved to be the difference in the Sailors upsetting Los Alamitos, 35-21. The first one he hauled in as a wide receiver for a 20-yard touchdown, giving Newport Harbor a two-touchdown lead midway through the second quarter.

Midway through the fourth quarter, Kory's second grab came as a cornerback. Kory intercepted a deep pass near the Sailors' sideline, ending the Griffins' best chance to tie the game.

"I was lucky to come up with the ball," Kory said. "I didn't even know I intercepted it."

Kory rose to his feet with the ball in his hands.

All Kory remembered is how the Sailors' coaching staff warned him of the play going his way before the snap of the ball. It was a third-and-long situation.

"Get ready for the deep ball," Kory said he heard coaches say from the sideline.

Kory was in position to make the play. He made sure it was the Sailors' ball and that they were on their way to beating the Griffins for the fourth time in the last six years in league play.

Kyle was at Davidson Field, cheering his younger brother on. A No. 34 is still making plays.


Kory Cablay

Born: Aug. 3, 1994

Hometown: La Jolla

Height: 5-foot-9

Weight: 180 pounds

Sport: Football

Position: Wide receiver and cornerback

Coach: Jeff Brinkley

Favorite food: Fried chicken

Favorite movie: "Forrest Gump"

Favorite athletic moment: "Scoring my first touchdown [in 29-26 win against] CdM [in the Battle of the Bay game]."

Week in review: Cablay caught a 20-yard touchdown pass and intercepted a pass, helping the Sailors upset Los Alamitos, 35-21, and remain in the hunt for a Sunset League title.

Twitter: @DCPenaloza

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