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    Newport Harbor football ignites wild celebration by beating Corona del Mar in Battle of the Bay
    • October 21, 2023

    NEWPORT BEACH — Newport Harbor’s football team had reason to celebrate after it defeated rival Corona del Mar 21-20 Friday in a key Sunset League game, and the hundreds of fans that poured onto the field at Newport Harbor High to join the Sailors added to the euphoric scene.

    The contest came down to a huge fourth-and-1 stop by the Sailors (4-5, 2-2), who took then possession with a minute remaining in the game and ran out the clock, snapping a 10-game losing streak against the Sea Kings (4-5, 1-3) in the annual Battle of the Bay contest.

    Newport Harbor players and fans pose for a photo around the Battle of the Bay trophy after the Sailors’ 21-20 victory over rival Corona del Mar on Friday, Oct. 20. (Photo by Lou Ponsi)

    With a victory against Fountain Valley in the final game of the regular season next week, the Sailors would likely finish in third place in the Sunset League and would be guaranteed a CIF-SS playoff berth.

    The Sea Kings will need to defeat Huntington Beach next week to keep their playoff hopes alive and they might need an at-large selection to get into the postseason.

    “I’ve lived in this city for 17 years,” said Newport Harbor receiver Cade Fegel, who had two touchdown catches. “I wanted it so bad. I knew this team was special from the start. I knew we would beat CdM.”

    About a minute before the Sea Kings were stopped on fourth down, the Sailors had failed to convert on a fourth-and-inches play at the 50, giving the Sea Kings a chance to win the game with a field goal.

    A missed extra point also factored into the outcome.

    Kaleb Annett’s 22-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter, his third touchdown pass of the game, gave the Sea Kings a 20-14 lead after the missed extra point.

    Newport Harbor quarterback Jaden O’Neal also threw three touchdown passes. His third TD went for 19 yards to Fegel and gave  the Sailors a 21-20 lead after the extra point with just under six minutes left in the game.

    And that’s how it stayed.

    “My initial reaction is pure joy and happiness,” Newport Harbor coach Peter Lofthouse said. “But then there’s so much that goes through my mind from when I first got here in 2018. It all just goes through your mind in seconds.”

    The Sailors came out fast, scoring two touchdowns, the first coming on a 48-yard pass from O’Neal to Josiah Lamarque.

    Newport Harbor’s Tony Glynn recovered a fumble on the Sea Kings 7 and the Sailors converted the takeaway into a touchdown on the next play when O’Neil threw his second touchdown pass, to Fagel for 7 yards.

    After turning the ball over on downs, punting twice and turning the ball over on a fumble, the Sea Kings righted themselves with an 80-yard, 14-play scoring drive.

    Annett completed 9 of 10 passes on the drive, including a 12-yard touchdown pass to tight end Zach Giuliano.

    Corona del Mar forced the Sailors to punt on the ensuing drive and the Sea Kings put together a 63-yard, game-tying drive, capped by Annett’s 28-yard scoring pass to Sebastien Boydell with 6.8 seconds remaining in the half.

    “It was a heck of a football game,” Sea Kings coach Kevin Hettig said. “They played well enough to beat us tonight.”

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    ​ Orange County Register