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12 Proves Unlucky for Orange


NEWPORT BEACH — Twelve is the number that will haunt the Orange High football team at practice Monday.

That was the number of players the Panthers had on the field, drawing a penalty that contributed to their 17-13 nonleague loss Thursday to Newport Harbor.

The Panthers, despite being outplayed most of the night by Newport Harbor, had a chance for the upset after putting together its only scoring drive. Art Bell caught a pass from Andy Lauridsen, bounced off a defender and ran to the four-yard line--and fumbled. But for once, the break went Orange's way and teammate Markus Garza fell on the ball in the end zone. The point-after attempt never got off because of a mishandled snap.

The Panther defense then held Newport Harbor to four downs on the next series--the first time it had done so since the opening possession--and took over at its own 46. Considering the Panthers didn't reach Sailor territory the first 2 1/2 quarters, that field position was a godsend. Lauridsen then completed an eight-yard pass to Bell to move the ball to the Newport Harbor 46. Then the yellow flags went up.

Twelve players on the field. Instead of being 46 yards away from victory, Orange was penalized 15 yards from the line of scrimmage. It was first and 25 from the 31. Then came an illegal procedure penalty. Then came two quarterback sacks. Finally, they punted. Then came the final gun.

"You always have confidence you can score," Orange Coach Buddy Bland said. "We had good field position, everything was going our way. . . . "

It was one of the few times everything was going the Panthers' way. They fumbled six times and lost four of them, which led to Steve Gonzales' two-yard touchdown run capping a 21-yard drive, and Wade Tift's 38-yard field goal on first down on the final play of the first half to give Newport Harbor a 14-7 lead.

Tift also had field goals of 20 and 30 yards and rushed a game-high 23 times for 74 yards. Gonzales also tackled Lauridsen in the end zone for a safety.

Bell took the opening kickoff 82 yards to give Orange a 7-0 lead.

Both defenses played well. Newport Harbor allowed a net loss of seven yards in the first half and surrendered 94 in the game, including 82 on three pass completions. The Sailors also recorded six quarterback sacks.

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