The Battle of the Bay was so evenly played that it could've gone to Newport Harbor High or Corona del Mar on Friday.
But every battle has to have a winner.
Newport Harbor always seems to beat CdM in these matchups.
The Sailors had to rally this time for a 27-26 victory to beat their rivals for the six straight season and improve their record to 38-13 in the city championship game.
"One of the best games ever and one of the toughest losses," CdM Coach Scott Meyer said in a text on Saturday. "Very proud of our guys."
Since Meyer's arrival at CdM, his teams have challenged the Sailors.
The last two meetings between Newport Harbor and CdM have been close. Last year's game was a 29-27 win for the Sailors at Orange Coast College.
Newport Harbor turned to a sophomore quarterback in the 51st edition of the Battle of the Bay after losing starter Zach Wade to a broken foot the previous week.
Cole Norris came through for the Sailors in a big way. On fourth-and-goal, the backup quarterback threw a game-winning 22-yard touchdown pass with 24 seconds left to play.
After CdM's Luke Napolitano pinned Newport Harbor deep in its own end with a 60-yard punt, Norris engineered the game-winning, 95-yard drive with 2:57 left.
The offense ran 17 plays, 14 through the air.
Norris completed eight passes for 111 yards on the drive. His team went backward three times, twice on five-yard penalties and once on a 15-yard offensive pass interference call.
The last penalty moved the Tars from CdM's seven to CdM's 22 with 37 seconds left. On third-and-goal from the 22, Norris threw to wide receiver Quest Truxton in the end zone, only to see the pass fall incomplete.
With 31 seconds left and faced with a fourth-and-goal from the 22, each team called a timeout. When the teams returned to the field, Norris didn't go to his top two targets — Landon Gyulay and Truxton, who each had 100-plus yards receiving.
Norris went to his third receiver, his third read. It was the correct one because he found junior Cory Stowell in the end zone for the game-winning touchdown pass with 24 seconds to go.
"Cole played remarkable for a sophomore," said Brinkley, whose quarterback finished with 245 yards and two touchdowns on 14-of-26 passing in his first start on varsity. "[He] had to step in a big game in front of 5,000 people. He did a [heck] of a job."
The quarterback job is Norris' now.
Brinkley said Wade is out six weeks.
Corona del Mar dropped two spots to No. 4 in the CIF Southern Section Southern Division poll after its setback to Newport Harbor, but the Sea Kings earned a win.
Laguna Hills has forfeited its 21-12 season-opening win to CdM on Aug. 31, due to the use of an ineligible player. The Sea Kings are now 2-1, instead of 1-2.