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    Newport Harbor girls flag football handles Corona del Mar in statement win
    • October 12, 2023

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    NEWPORT BEACH — There was no doubt this time. Newport Harbor’s girls flag football team made sure of that Wednesday night.

    Junior Maia Helmar tossed four touchdowns and intercepted a pass on defense as the Sailors defeated Back Bay rival Corona del Mar 27-0 in a Sunset League game between nationally-ranked teams at Newport Harbor High.

    The Sailors (22-1, 11-0), ranked No. 1 in the nation by MaxPreps, had edged No. 4 Corona del Mar (18-4, 9-2) by margins of 12-7 and 12-6 in overtime earlier this season. The latter game featured a controversial pass interference penalty that became part of storyline entering Round III.

    But before a large crowd for the Rams’ Game of the Week, Newport Harbor raced to a 14-0 lead at halftime and added two more touchdowns in the second half to deliver a decisive result.

    “It should have been (this) way for the other two games,” Helmar said, “(but) it was the nerves because they are our rival school and they are a very good team.”

    After Helmar capped the scoring with a long pass down field for a 30-yard TD strike to sophomore Ella Woods, Newport Harbor’s rallying call surfaced.

    “There’s no question now,” someone said along the Sailors’ sideline.

    “There shouldn’t be,” Newport Harbor coach Jason Guyser said. “It wasn’t about trying to beat them by a lot of points. It was just about making (the result) clear.”

    “I thought (we) played amazing,” the coach added. “Other than when we beat Woodbridge 33-13, I think these are our two best games.”

    Newport Harbor scored on its first two drives.

    Helmar, who also plays soccer and softball, capped the first possession with a 4-yard TD pass to senior wide receiver Kate Kubiak, an Oregon committed soccer player. Junior Abigail George caught the extra-point to make it 7-0.

    Newport Harbor’s defense set up the score as senior pass rusher Emma Chaix recorded a sack on fourth down to give the offense the ball at the Corona del Mar 43.

    On the Sailors’ next drive, Helmar punctuated a long march by throwing a 9-yard touchdown to junior Audrey Burns. Freshman Maddy Michel grabbed the extra-point as the Sailors built a 14-0 advantage.

    In the second half, Newport Harbor’s defense provided another spark. Sophomore safety Cooper Dick deflected a pass to Helmar for an interception at the Corona del Mar 42.

    Helmar capped the ensuing possession by rolling out to her left and tossing a 2-yard TD strike to George as the lead swelled to 21-0.

    “The biggest difference was they executed on offense and we did not,” Corona del Mar coach Yvonne Sturgeon said. “Not just our league, but this area, this section of flag football is a powerhouse. … Maia throw some great balls tonight.”

    Helmar also played well on defense. From her outside linebacker spot, she grabbed flags on three of four plays to force Corona del Mar to turn the ball over on downs late in the game. Burns, a cornerback, recorded the other tackle with a diving flag pull.

    On the ensuing possession, Helmar launched her long TD pass to Woods.

    Corona del Mar was led by speedy junior QB Alexa Rokos, who plays point guard in basketball.

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    ​ Orange County Register