Newport Harbor kicker Michael Schultz, left, watches as his game-winning field goal goes through the uprights to beat Los Alamitos, 31-28, while the Sailors' Cole Norris begins to celebrate. Newport Harbor clinched a CIF-SS playoff spot with the victory.

Wild, wonderful ending in OT for Newport Harbor


LONG BEACH - Newport Harbor coach Jeff Brinkley made a prediction back in August.

"I said before the year, 'Schultzie's going to win one for us,' " Brinkley recalled.

"Schultzie" — Newport Harbor sophomore kicker Michael Schultz — kicked a 37-yard field goal in overtime, and the Sailors beat Los Alamitos, 31-28, Thursday at Veterans Stadium in a Sunset League game and the final regular-season game for both.

Newport Harbor concluded the regular season with a 4-1 league record. The Sailors (6-4 overall) clinched a playoff berth in the CIF-Southern Section's Southwest Division. They could finish in a three-way tie for the league championship if Huntington Beach (3-1 in league) beats Edison (4-0) on Friday night.

Los Alamitos finished 2-3 in league and 6-4 overall. The Griffins only can get into the playoffs as an at-large entry in the Southwest Division, which has two at-large berths. Given its overall record and No. 8 standing in the Southwest Division rankings, chances are good that Los Alamitos will get one of those at-large berths when playoff brackets are released Sunday.

Schultz had missed an extra point attempt in the fourth quarter.

"I actually said to one of our coaches before overtime started, 'Now Schultzie has a chance to win it for us,'" Brinkley said.

Schultz appreciated the second chance.

"I've screwed up many, many times," said Schultz, nearly hyperventilating. "I know I'm not perfect. When the team gives me hope, I'm going to win it for the team."

Newport Beach was trailing, 28-20, late in the fourth quarter. With 20 seconds to go, Newport Harbor sophomore quarterback Cole Norris connected with Quest Truxton for an 8-yard touchdown pass. The Sailors tied it on a 2-point conversion run by Riley Gaddis to force OT.

Los Alamitos got the ball first in overtime, starting at the Newport 25-yard line via the CIF-Southern Section's tiebreaker procedure. The Griffins failed to convert on a fourth down, giving Newport its chance.

Newport did not get a first down, either. The Sailors lined up for a 32-yard field goal, but a false start penalty on them backed them up 5 yards. That set up Schultz' high, end-over-end game winner.

Los Alamitos had a 14-0 lead at halftime. Newport scored a touchdown in the third quarter and three touchdowns in the fourth.

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