game last fall -- its sixth trip to a final in the last 13 seasons in
Divisions IV, V or VI -- will attempt to make one more run at a
Division VI crown.
But, looming in the future is an annual battle with Sunset League
bullies Los Alamitos, Esperanza and Edison just to get into the
playoffs. Then, should a playoff berth be obtained, the Division I
postseason may include potential matchups with nationally renowned
powerhouses such as Long Beach Poly, Mater Dei and Loyola.
In short, the Tars must get to gettin' while the gettin' is good.
For now, however, any talk of 2006 is more than buzz kill to
Brinkley. It is, the bane of his existence: a distraction.
"I don't know about that," Brinkley said of any last hurrah in the
Sea View League, where the Sailors figure to battle Foothill, Aliso
Niguel and Irvine to defend their title.
What Brinkley does know, and what others have come to know about
Newport football, is that high expectations are as much a part of the
game-night atmosphere at Davidson Field as the Sailor band blaring
The Sailors have been to the playoffs six straight seasons and 14
of the last 16 years.
There is ample cause for such optimism this season, despite the
graduation of 14 all-league players from a team that went 12-1-1, the
third-most single-season wins in the program's 74-year history.
Four starters return on offense and two on defense, but the
45-player roster appears to have no shortage of talent.
The strength of the team could be the offensive line, while the
offensive skill positions should be in the capable hands of seniors
Tom Jackson (quarterback), Ryan Rippon (tailback) and James Coder (a
returning starter at receiver).
Jackson, a two-year starter in the secondary, steps in for Sea
View League Offensive Player of the Year Kasey Peters (now at
Jackson threw just two passes last season, completing both, but
amassed 739 yards and eight TDs as a sophomore when he took over for
four-plus games after Peters broke his collarbone in Week 7.
Also leaving big shoes to fill was CIF Co-Offensive Player of the