Newport Harbor High football coach Jeff Brinkley received a noteworthy present for his 60th birthday as the Sailors posted a 28-7 nonleague home upset win over previously unbeaten San Clemente, ranked No. 8 in the CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division.
"That was nice," Brinkley, to whom several well-wishers delivered "Happy Birthday" comments after the game, said of the birthday gift. "But this is a good win for these kids."
Injuries to key seniors at Estancia High continue to pile up.
Already without tailback Robert Murtha, Coach Mike Bargas said the Eagles lost fullback DeionTe Haywood to an ankle injury and defensive lineman Kevin Peters to a knee injury during their 45-28 loss against University at Irvine High on Thursday.
Bargas said he expects Murtha to return Friday, when the Eagles (2-2), ranked No. 10 in the CIF Southern Section Southern Division, play Sonora (2-2) at La Habra High at 7 p.m.
Bargas said Haywood, who has a minor ankle sprain, won't be available.
Bargas said Peters' knee has some swelling and he's unlikely to play this week.
The next contest is the final nonleague game for Estancia before it opens its Orange Coast League title defense against Costa Mesa (2-3) on Oct. 5.
"I made a decision to keep him out [against University because] he was about 80 [percent]," Bargas said of Murtha.
Murtha, who dressed last week, is 41 yards away from becoming Newport-Mesa's all-time leading rusher. He has 4,293 yards rushing in his career.
Costa Mesa's Binh Tran holds the record with 4,333 yards.
For the first time in three years, Corona del Mar High has dropped consecutive games.
The Sea Kings lost at Capistrano Valley, 24-7, Friday. A blocked 52-yard field-goal try before halftime and four turnovers in the second half doomed CdM.
Capistrano Valley returned the blocked field goal 52 yards for a touchdown, taking a 14-7 lead with 12 seconds left in the first half. The Cougars scored 10 points off the second-half turnovers.
"I don't think that was our best," CdM Coach Scott Meyer said. "We have to get back and regroup and clean a lot of stuff up."
The Sea Kings (2-2), ranked No. 4 in the CIF Southern Section Southern Division, look to avoid their first three-game skid since 2009 on Friday, when they play host to Cypress (3-1).
Cypress has reached at least the quarterfinals of the Southwest Division playoffs the past three seasons.
Costa Mesa (2-3), which has a bye this week, could be a much-improved team once Orange Coast League play opens with the annual Battle for the Bell with crosstown rival Estancia on Oct. 5.
The Mustangs, who were defeated, 21-6, by Pacifica to complete their preleague schedule on Saturday, could have senior running back Justin Smith, who has run for 333 yards and five touchdowns, back from an ankle injury by then.
"It's a good time for a bye," Costa Mesa Coach Wally Grant said. "Hopefully, we can get healthy and get ready for league."
J.R. Tolver brought his Sage Hill School team with him to play a game in San Diego County and experience something special with its coach.
The day before the Lightning played The Bishop's of La Jolla on Saturday, Tolver was enshrined into the San Diego State Aztec Hall of Fame. Tolver, a receiver, ranks No. 1 in career receptions (262) and yards (3,572) at San Diego State.
"It was really humbling," said Tolver, who's 32. "One of the things as an athlete is you're always looking up to somebody. For me playing at San Diego State, it was guys like Marshall Faulk, La'Roi Glover and Az-Zahir Hakim. Guys that had great college careers and professional careers. Now to be in Hall of Fame and for the school to put me in the same breath as those guys is humbling.
"I love San Diego. My family and friends are there. That's the area that I still consider home."
Of the 80 friends and family members that came out to the induction ceremony, Tolver said almost half were his players.
"It meant a lot for them to be there because they're my extended family," Tolver said. "It was our first overnight trip together. It was great to see the guys bond together and learn a little bit about each other."
Newport Harbor (2-2) played as if it were the favorite against the Tritons, who reached the CIF Pac-5 Division title game a year ago, when they posted a 24-12 triumph over the Tars.
The Sailors' defense, led by the senior linebackers Marty Taylor and Brian Team, as well as senior Talaleile Teaupa, held San Clemente to a late touchdown.
Estancia and University ran wild in the first half, combining for 490 yards and eight touchdowns, thanks to officials letting the two teams play.
Only one offensive holding penalty was called in the first 24 minutes of action and it came against the Trojans. That didn't stop them from amassing 295 yards on 29 carries before halftime.
University finished with 450 yards and five touchdowns on the ground, while Estancia had 237 yards and four touchdowns.
"Those guys were elusive," Bargas said of University's Jassiem Jenkins, Keyvan Bardia Aminzadeh and Chase Alibrando, who each gained at least 100 yards on the ground. "We weren't wrapping up. We had a couple of breakdowns and then the wheels kind of fall off the cart."
Meyer expects Kai Wilson back this week.
Meyer said the senior running back has missed the past two road games with ankle and Achilles tendon issues.
Without Wilson, the Sea Kings have relied heavily on quarterback Cayman Carter to produce on the ground. Carter rushed for 46 yards on 15 carries against Capistrano Valley and 166 yards and one touchdown on 22 carries two weeks ago against Newport Harbor.
Costa Mesa senior center Rudy Aguirre could be out with a hip injury that Grant said could be either a flexor or a pointer.
With Aguirre out on Saturday, Costa Mesa lost two fumbles on center-quarterback exchanges, one of which led to Pacifica's game-clinching touchdown.
"We shot ourselves in the foot multiple times," Grant said.
Newport Harbor, which has won two straight after opening the season 0-2, will try to extend its winning streak on Friday at Mira Costa of Manhattan Beach. A victory would give the Sailors their first three-game winning streak since they opened the 2010 campaign 3-0.
Three turnovers and a blocked punt stung the Eagles in their second straight setback against a Pacific Coast League team.
Three of those mistakes resulted in 17 third-quarter points for University, allowing the Trojans to take a 45-28 lead.
Estancia missed on three chances to recover quarterback fumbles.
CdM junior Luke Napolitano has punted well the past two weeks.
During the stretch, he has pinned the opposition deep in its own end three times. He is averaging 42.4 yards in his last nine punts.
His two longest punts have gone 60 and 54 yards.
Despite its sub-.500 start after five games, its eighth out of the last nine seasons, Costa Mesa has posted a combined scoring advantage of 103-80 over its opponents this season.
The Mustangs have been outscored, 52-18, in their three combined losses, but have dominated Santiago (45-14) and Los Amigos (40-14) in their two victories.
While Sage Hill was defeated by The Bishop's, 48-13, Tolver said the team remains optimistic.
He said a handful of injuries to key players have factored into the first 0-5 start in the program's history. The small school doesn't have much depth.
Tolver reminded his team that he has been in this situation before as a player.
"In my senior year of college , we started 0-5 and we ended up [tied for] third in [the Mountain West Conference] that year," Tolver said. "We finished well. Everybody wants to win. Our long-term goal is to win the Academy League. We can go 2-8 and still make the [CIF Southern Section East Valley Division] playoffs. We just have to finish in the top two in [a four-team] league. Guys are upbeat."
Tolver said the team has something to build on after the latest setback.
"We scored on the last play and that's encouraging," Tolver said of the 11-yard touchdown pass from Harrison Ray to receiver Beau Roth.
The Lightning play Flintridge Prep of La Canada (1-3) at Occidental College on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Costa Mesa fans could be heard chanting "L, O, D" when the Mustangs' defense is on the field. It's an acronym for Legion of Doom, a nickname for the defense coined by Grant.
— From staff reportsCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun