Newport Harbor defense comes up big in clutch, stops El Rancho


PICO RIVERA – A pair of key defensive plays in the fourth quarter propelled Newport Harbor to a 33-21 victory over El Rancho on Friday night in a nonleague game at Don Memorial Stadium.

With seven minutes left in the fourth quarter and the Sailors (2-0) clinging to a 27-21 lead, El Rancho drove down the field and put itself in position to take the lead.

On fourth-and-4, senior Elliot Frye swatted a pass by Dons quarterback Adam Chandler to the ground, giving the Sailors the ball back.

That play proved to be costly for the Dons, when Newport Harbor’s Michael Bonds found receiver Tom Phillips for a 12-yard touchdown a few plays later, giving the Sailors a 33-21 lead.

El Rancho (0-3) did not go away quietly, again driving down the field on its next possession, but much like the previous series, the Sailors’ defense came up big. This time it was senior Dalton Rosene coming up with a fumble recovery, preserving the victory.

Newport Harbor running back Cole Kinder rushed for 311 yards and two touchdowns on 35 carries, including six runs of 20 yards or longer.

Newport Harbor opened a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, but the game proved to be a back-and-forth battle. When it looked as if the Sailors might run away with the game, the Dons rallied to tie it at 14.

With 1:47 left in the first half, the Sailors went back ahead when Bonds found Jack Rapillo on a 46-yard touchdown pass.

But when the Dons needed an answer, Chandler usually provided it. His 9-yard touchdown pass to Isiah Araujo with two seconds left in the first half tied the score at 21.

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