Newport Harbor showed tremendous heart to rally from a 14-point deficit with 31 points after halftime to defeat Los Alamitos, 31-28, in overtime on Thursday night at Veterans Stadium. It was the fifth time in the past six meetings that Newport has defeated Los Al.
With the victory, Edison, Huntington Beach and Newport clinch the Sunset League’s three guaranteed playoff berths. If Huntington upsets Edison on Friday, it will create a three-way tie for first place and coin flips will determine playoff positioning. If Huntington loses, Newport takes second because Edison has the tiebreaker over the Sailors.
Los Al will have to hope to get the Southwest Division’s lone at-large berth and the Griffins should have a good shot with a 6-4 record.
Sophomore QB Cole Norris and junior WR Quest Truxton put on a show to lead the Sailors comeback. Norris completed 24 of 36 passes for 343 yards and four TDs with one pick. Truxton had 12 catches for 217 yards and three TDs.
Newport trailed 28-20 when it took over at its own 37 with a little over a minute remaining regulation. Norris kept hitting Truxton to move the ball right down the field. Truxton’s 8-yard TD catch with 20 seconds remaining cut Los Al’s lead to 28-26.
The Sailor’s got three shots at the 2-point conversion because of two defensive holding penalties against the Griffins. Riley Gaddis finally pounded it in the end zone on the third try to make it 28-28.
Los Al didn’t try to make anything happen in the final 20 seconds, so it was off to overtime.
The Griffins got the first possession in overtime and Newport’s D held strong. The Griffins decided to go for it on fourth-and-5 from the 11-yard line rather than attempt a 28-yard field goal. Armani Johnson sacked Los Al QB Cody Marshall and it was Newport’s turn to take over on offense.
The Sailors had trouble moving the ball and were forced to settle for a 32-yard field goal attempt by Michael Schults, who missed an extra-point attempt in the fourth quarter. A false start penalty backed the Sailors up five yards, but it didn’t matter. Schultz drilled a 37-yard field goal to win it and Newport started celebrating.
What a game. I’m exhausted. Now it’s time to get home and update the OC football playoff picture.