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November 17, 2000|MARTIN HENDERSON

Jeff Brinkley, coach of defending Division VI champion Newport Harbor, says quarterback Morgan Craig will be critical to the Sailors' hopes of defending their title. And Brinkley is encouraged.

"He has thrown great the last few weeks," Brinkley said. "To win, we're going to have to be able to run and throw."

Craig has thrown only six touchdowns and three interceptions this season, but that's not surprising given that Chris Manderino is in the backfield. More telling is that more than half of Craig's 768 passing yards have come in the last three weeks.

The at-large berth and the Sea View League have gone hand-in-hand through the years, almost without fail. Since 1992, the single berth has gone to a Sea View League team except for 1994, when Western got it from the Orange League, and in 1997 when Katella was an additional Empire League representative. Ocean View of the Golden West League got it this year. No SVL team had a record that made it eligible for an at-large berth.

There is another Sea View League streak that hasn't been broken in recent years. A Sea View team has won a championship every season since 1992: Irvine in 1992-93, Newport Harbor in 1994, El Toro in 1995, Santa Margarita in 1996-97, Woodbridge in 1998, Newport Harbor in 1999.


History sure didn't matter much when the playoff pairings were released. Woodbridge, the third-place team from the Sea View League and just two years removed from winning a section title, plays top-seeded La Mirada.

"I anticipated Ocean View being there," Coach Rick Gibson said. "What they're saying basically is that we're the worst [team] of the whole group."

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