Friday's Battle of the Bay was decided by one point for only the fifth time in the history of the high school football game played between Newport Harbor and Corona del Mar.
The latest one-point game might have featured the best finish in the Back Bay rivalry.
With 24 seconds left and faced with a fourth-and-goal, backup sophomore quarterback Cole Norris threw a 22-yard game-winning touchdown pass to wide receiver Cory Stowell to lift Newport Harbor to a 27-26 victory.
The 51st edition went to the Sailors — barely.
Coach Jeff Brinkley gladly accepted the come-from-behind win at Davidson Field. The Sailors avoided their first 0-3 start under Brinkley and they helped him reach a coaching milestone in his 27th season at the school.
Brinkley earned his 214th triumph with the Sailors, putting him all alone in the No. 5 spot in the Orange County record book when it comes to career wins. He went into the season tied with another legendary coach, Dick Hill, at 213.
"It was a great game," said Brinkley, who is 59, "It was a great game.
"I've had a lot of years doing this, but I don't know if I remember one quite like that."
The ending was a thriller for each school's coaches and players, as well as the 5,000 fans at the sold-out game.
Newport Harbor Coach Dan Glenn called Corona del Mar the best girls' volleyball team in the state — when the Sea Kings have all their pieces together.
The Sea Kings aren't at full strength, yet they still finished as the third-best team from California at the Durango Fall Classic in Las Vegas on Saturday.
Without standout senior Alexis Cage, CdM took fourth overall at the prestigious two-day tournament. The Sea Kings reached the semifinals, where Assumption of Louisville, Ky. swept CdM, 25-19, 25-20, in a best-of-three match.
In the third-place match, Redondo Union swept the Sea Kings, 25-18, 25-16. Two CdM players — sophomore outside hitter Hayley Hodson and senior setter Kelsey Humphreys — made the all-tournament team.
CdM Coach Marissa Booker said at the start of the season that she expected Cage to be back in mid-September. Booker said Cage has been recovering from an undisclosed surgery.
The Sea Kings have faced four teams ranked in the PrepVolleyball.com national preseason poll: No. 2 Assumption, No. 4 Marymount of Los Angeles, No. 23 Horizon of Scottsdale, Ariz., and No. 25 Redondo Union. The Sea Kings (5-4), who entered the season ranked ninth in the country, only beat one of those teams.
Glenn expects CdM to be in the hunt for CIF Southern Section Division 1AA and CIF State Division I titles. He and his Sailors get to travel to CdM on Sept. 29 for the annual Battle of the Bay match.
Glenn has a former assistant back on his bench.
Bryan Cottriel has returned to Newport Harbor after resigning as the boys' and girls' coach at Santa Margarita. Cottriel led the school to the CIF Southern Section Division 1 championship match once during his three seasons in charge of the boys.
"He needed me, so I came back," said Cottriel, who is also the frosh-soph coach at Newport Harbor.
Cottriel was an assistant under Glenn for almost a decade before leaving six years ago to coach at Great Oak in Temecula.
"I wanted him the whole time," Glenn said when he heard Cottriel left Santa Margarita, which hired Cottriel in January 2010. "You've coached with someone for so long, you're kind of both thinking the same thing."