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Sailors Take Care of Savanna Streak


ANAHEIM — The Savanna Rebels had done many things to many teams the last 1 1/2 seasons, but one thing they've not had to do often is come from behind to win.

They were unsuccessful Thursday night. In front of about 500 at Glover Stadium, the previously unbeaten Rebels were stymied, stood up and ultimately stopped by still-unbeaten Newport Harbor, 22-15.

Sailors' fullback Brian Johnson took the opening kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown and after that, the Sailors (5-0) used the grind-it-out running of Jeremy Mason (93 yards) and spot passing from John Giordani (79 yards) to keep the ball away from Savanna. The Rebels (4-1) had only three second-half possessions, one in the fourth quarter.

The Newport Harbor defense shut down the Rebels, who had scored 181 points in four games this season and had won their last 10 coming in (the county's second-longest streak behind Los Alamitos). Their vaunted veer-T rushing attack could muster only 67 yards. Quarterback Jeremy Klemp passed for 113 yards, but a fourth-quarter interception by Johnson--the third Savanna turnover--was the last time the Rebels had the ball.

"We made too many mistakes, but give Newport Harbor the credit tonight," Savanna Coach Fred DiPalma said. "They were able to keep the ball and pound us. I'm not happy we lost, but there's another game next week."

Newport Harbor Coach Jeff Brinkley worried about Savanna's speed--"In Orange County, especially Division V, you don't see that much speed. You get out of position and they're gone," he said--and figured a ball-control game was the way to beat the Sailors. But he had to do so a man short, because running back Edon Kagasoff was sidelined by a deep thigh bruise.

Johnson made sure he wasn't needed. He caught the kickoff at his six-yard line, broke through the wedge at the 35, and ran untouched the remaining 65 yards for the touchdown. Savanna was shocked further when it fumbled while attempting to punt and the Sailors recovered on the Rebels' 16. Three plays later, Mason punched in from the one. Dan McDonough had a two-point run.

Newport seemed poised to deliver a quick knockout blow when they forced Savanna to punt again. But this time, the Sailors fumbled at their 35, and Savanna recovered. Klemp--who was eight for 10 for 90 yards in the first half--made the visitors pay with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Daven King. A two-point run failed.

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