May 17, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

PHOTOS: Newport Harbor comes out fired up and tops Woodbridge 26-10 in opener

Newport Harbor quarterback Cole Lavin eludes the tackle of Woodbridge’s Owen Lucas Friday night. (Photos Fernando M. Donado, For OC Sports Zone)

Newport Harbor’s football team was looking for a fast start to set the stage for a successful season and the Sailors did just that Friday night.

To see the slide show, please click on the first photo

Behind a strong defense and the passing of junior quarterback Cole Lavin the Sailors opened with a 26-10 nonleague victory over Woodbridge at University.

“It’s a great victory for our young men because at the end of last season a lot of our juniors who are now seniors really ended the season on such a sour note,” said Coach Peter Lotfhouse. “They felt if we could get to the playoffs, we would have a real shot in the division we’re in.

“And these guys really committed from the end of the season….and said we’re going to do all the little things that we’ve been asking them to do as coaches and they really bought into it. And Woodbridge is a heck of a football team. So to get a great win like that against a really well coached football team that we could possibly see again because we’re both in Division 9, it’s definitely a building block for our future for the rest of our season.”

Lavin led the way passing for 193 yards and a 13-yard TD pass to Austin Muro in the first quarter. He also scored on a quarterback keeper to lead the Sailors, who were coming off a 3-6-1 season.

“Today felt good, first game of the season to come out and win as a team felt really good and the defense shut them down all night,” Lavin said. “We just killed it tonight.”

Woodbridge junior Carry Rainey picked off one of his passes for a 23-yard interception return for a touchdown which tied the score 7-7. The Warriors Tommy Prince also picked off a pass on the next drive.

But Lavin settled down and led the Sailors the rest of the way.

“That was tough, those were both back to back drives, but coach is always telling me, keep a short term memory and I just kept that in mind and I bounced back and think I finished the game pretty good,” he said.

Jack Starnes also had 31-yard field goal for Newport Harbor. The Sailors also got a safety in the third quarter when Woodbridge bobbled the snap on a punt and the ball went out of the end zone.

Newport Harbor capped the scoring on a 3-yard TD run by Justin McCoy, who rushed for 65 yards.

Three Newport Harbor receivers had big nights. Muro had four catches for 61 yards, Aidan Goltz had five catches for 41 yards and Mason Walker four catches for 39 yards.

Woodbridge, with no returning starters on offense, had four turnovers.

“It kind of showed and I blame myself,” said Coach Rick Gibson. “Some of the things we are doing might be a little too complicated for where we are as far as where they are experience level. Part of that is on me. We have to regroup and it’s not going to get any easier going to El Modena next week.”

Jakob Trestik had a 29-yard field goal for the Warriors in the second quarter which put Woodbridge ahead 10-7. But the Sailors rattled off 19 consecutive points after that.

Max Tipple rushed for 59 yards on nine carries for Woodbridge. But the two Woodbridge quarterbacks, seniors Ethan Assayag and Tate Smith, both struggled sharing the duties. Smith had 33 yards passing and Assayag 15 yards and the two combined for three interceptions.

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-Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com