High School Football: Sailors want to bounce back

Newport Harbor High Coach Jeff Brinkley was disappointed about how the Sailors ended the regular season.

A loss with a chance at a share of the Sunset League title wasn't the way he wanted Newport Harbor to finish.

But the Sailors have a chance for redemption in the CIF Southern Section Southwest Division playoffs. Newport Harbor (5-5) is one of five Newport-Mesa area teams in the playoffs, which begin Friday.

"You obviously don't want to go out like that," said Brinkley, whose team opens at Dana Hills (5-5), the second-place team from the Sea View League. "We just didn't play well. I don't think anyone is happy about it. But it's a new season now. You have to find a way to win a game."

The Sailors, who finished tied for second in the Sunset at 3-2, will be challenged to rebound from a disappointing, 40-14 loss at Huntington Beach.

Brinkley said Newport Harbor is "banged up."

Senior tight end Alex De Soto won't be available, as he suffered a broken collarbone against the Oilers, Brinkley said. The coach said he hopes senior offensive linemen Joseph Zavala and Wyatt Savisaar can return from injuries which caused them to miss the game against Huntington Beach.

Sophomore defensive end Caleb O'Neal will be evaluated for a concussion, as he didn't finish Friday's game, Brinkley said.

Junior tailback Chance Siemonsma suffered a leg injury, and Brinkley said it was initially thought to be a fracture. But it wasn't. Siemonsma is questionable for the first-round game at Dana Hills.

"All the injuries, that was a bigger nightmare than the loss," Brinkley said. "When we get someone hurt it does some serious damage because a lot of our guys play on offense, defense and special teams."

The injuries also played a part in causing the Sailors to miss a big opportunity against the Oilers.

Brinkley believes Newport Harbor could have earned the fourth seed had it come out on top at Huntington Beach. It appeared the CIF Southern Section thought highly of the Sunset League, as it put five teams in the playoffs, including at-large squads Los Alamitos and Huntington Beach, Brinkley said.

The Sailors are hoping to prove they are much better than what the score indicated against the Oilers.

Newport Harbor and Dana Hills share three common opponents this season, Fountain Valley, San Clemente and Trabuco Hills.

The Sailors beat Fountain Valley, 42-25. Dana Hills lost to the Barons, 24-21.

Newport Harbor and the Dolphins both defeated San Clemente, 34-13, and 38-13, respectively.

Both teams suffered losses to Trabuco Hills, the Sailors fell, 35-20, and Dana Hill was dropped, 31-10.

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