Written By: Chris Bibona
The two Sunset League rivals, Newport Harbor and Fountain Valley, opened up their league game at Harbor’s Davidson Field on Friday, October 4th at 7. The Sailors, sporting grey and blue jerseys, had the advantage of the best student section in Orange County cheering over them; that feat being rewarded to the ‘Tarpit’ by the Orange County Register. The expectations were high for Harbor, as they entered this game undefeated, flaunting one of the best starts to their season in program history.
Harbor received the opening kickoff, starting off the first drive for new quarterback Nick Kim, playing in the absence of Cole Lavin, who is meanwhile recovering from an injury. Kim showed no sign of first-time jitters, as he completed his first passing attempt, darting a ball to receiver James Crowell for a moderate gain. Unfortunately for the Sailors, penalties drew the offense back and they were unable to score in their premiere drive. With the Barons now in control of the ball, it was their turn to strike. Senior Captain Johnny Brigandi and the Harbor defensive unit had other plans, stopping Fountain Valley’s drive in a three-and-out.
The first half of the game was all offense after each team’s rusty opening drive. Junior running back Justin McCoy took a 55-yard run to the house, narrowly beating the Baron’s safety to the endzone. This lead did not last long as Fountain Valley’s quarterback, Jimmy Russell, hurled a 50-yard touchdown pass to even up the score at seven apiece. Nick Kim got in on the fun as well in the second quarter, throwing his first passing touchdown to senior receiver Austin Muro. The sailors would then cap off the first half with a 30-yard field goal by Jack Starnes to extend the lead to 17-7; Sailors at the helm cruising to the third quarter.
The second half belonged to one man, and one man only: Justin McCoy. The junior tallied 3 more rushing touchdowns, for a total of four altogether. The 38-point performance by the Harbor offense made it smooth sailing for Tarball for the remainder of the game, as the comfortable lead gave them ideal weather to run the clock out and end the game with a final score of 38 to 24.
The Sailors improve to 6-0 overall and earn their first league win in a statement game. As another week passes, Tarball looks into the horizon and preps for their next game at Huntington Beach High School to face the Oilers.