Chris Reck rushed for 89 yards and a touchdown, and J.T. Land scored the decisive points in the fourth quarter after forcing a turnover as Trabuco Hills scored a nonleague victory over Newport Harbor on Thursday.
The Mustangs' 27-21 road victory improved their record to 2-0 on the season, but they face a stiff test next week against Santa Margarita Catholic, which is universally considered one of the best teams in the state and nation. Because of construction at Saddleback College, that game will be played at Mission Viejo High with SMCHS being the home team.
Trabuco Hills forced three turnovers by the Sailors, who were playing their first game and trying to reach a milestone for their coach, Jeff Brinkley, who began his 27th season. Brinkley has 213 victories at Newport and needs one more to become the fifth-winningest coach (not tied with anyone) in Orange County.
Instead, Brinkley's teams were beaten in consecutive openers for the first time in his 27 seasons; Trabuco won last year's game, 35-14.
Next week probably won't be any easier for either team. Not only does Trabuco face Santa Margarita, but Newport plays host to Los Angeles Loyola.
Land set up his touchdown by forcing a fourth quarter fumble that was recovered by Spencer Herson at the Newport 40-yard line. Land finished with 51 yards rushing.
Despite the 27-7 lead, Newport rallied to 27-20 behind Zach Wade—who threw for three touchdown passes—but it was Land who ran 15 yards on a second-and-two situation with 1 1/2 minutes remaining that sealed the victory for Trabuco.
Newport Harbor went into the game ranked No. 9 in the Southern Section's Southwest Division.
Matt Wood goot Trabuco off on the right foot when he returned an interception 28 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. Quarterback Nathan Perry scored on an 11-yard run to go up 14-0 early in the second quarter.
Wade passed 66 yards to Quest Truxton before halftime to cut the deficit to 14-7, but Reck—who rushed 30 times for 89 yards—scored from two yards in the third quarter to extend the lead to 20-7. Then came Land's hit on Wade that forced a fumble that led to the final score for Trabuco with 6:35 remaining.
Wade threw TD passes of 30 yards to Cory Stowell with 5:11 left, and 11 yards to Truxton with 2:40 remaining. Wade completed 10 of 20 for 161 yards and two interceptions.
Perry completed seven of 16 for 62 yards and an interception for Trabuco.