CdM looks to make history against Newport Harbor in Battle of the Bay

CdM looks to make history against Newport Harbor in Battle of the Bay
Corona del Mar’s Chase Garbers throws a pass during last year’s Battle of the Bay game against Newport Harbor at Orange Coast College. ((File Photo))

Corona del Mar and Newport Harbor highs have played football every year since 1963, and never have the Sea Kings won the Battle of the Bay rivalry five years in a row.

That is likely to change Friday, when the Back Bay schools play at Davidson Field at 7 p.m.


The Sea Kings (2-1), ranked No. 4 in the CIF Southern Section Division 4 poll, are the favorites in the 56th edition of the game, while the host Sailors (0-2), No. 9 in Division 6, are looking for their first win of the year.

There is a lot of history that can be made, good and bad.


The Sailors hope to end CdM’s four-game winning streak in the series and avoid their first 0-3 start in Jeff Brinkley’s storied coaching career at the school. This is his 32nd year leading Newport Harbor, where Brinkley has won 242 games.

Brinkley’s teams have begun 0-2 two other times, in 2011 and 2012, and each time Newport Harbor won its third game. In both instances, the Sailors defeated CdM, 29-26 in 2011 and 27-26 in 2012.

Since then, the contest has not been close. The Sea Kings have outscored the Sailors a combined 127-48 in the past four matchups.

Last year’s game saw CdM win 41-13 at Orange Coast College. The margin of victory marked the Sea Kings’ largest in the series.

Two key players from last year’s team won’t be playing. Chase Garbers, CdM’s all-time passing leader, is a freshman quarterback at Cal, and Cole Kinder, Newport Harbor’s all-time leading rusher, is a freshman running back at UCLA.

Another key missing piece for the Sailors is Dayne Chalmers.

The standout two-way player decided not to play football during his junior year because he wanted to focus on volleyball, said his father, Evan. Not having Chalmers, a wide receiver and defensive back, around has affected Newport Harbor on both sides of the ball, as it’s allowing 37.5 points and scoring 14 points per game.

The rivalry, which Newport Harbor leads 38-17 always has a couple of twists. One of those is Spencer Hook, who a year ago was at Newport Harbor, serving as the backup quarterback in the game.

Now, in his senior year, Hook is at CdM, and he will be catching passes. The Sea Kings moved Hook to receiver.

For most of last year, Hook and Newport Harbor’s Sam Barela rotated at quarterback. One would play one down, and then the next would play the following down and so forth. There are no more wacky substitution patterns at Newport Harbor as Barela is the signal-caller this year as a junior.

The nonleague schedule has been and will continue to be brutal for Barela and the Sailors. They opened with a 33-7 loss on the road to Pacifica, which is now the No. 2 team in Division 10, and they fell at home to Chino Hills 42-21 last week. After facing CdM, the Sailors travel to Hacienda Heights Los Altos, No. 8 in Division 5, on Sept. 22, and they play host to Los Angeles Cathedral, No. 9 in Division 2, on Sept 28.

Sunset League play won’t get any easier. The Sailors open league with Los Alamitos, No. 10 in Division 2, at home on Oct. 5, followed by a home date with No. 5 Edison on Oct. 13.

The Sea Kings have settled down since their 45-27 season-opening setback to JSerra, now No. 8 in Division 1, beating Los Gatos 43-28 and El Toro 39-15.

They also have settled in on one quarterback, Nathaniel Espinoza. The senior has thrown for 769 yards and six touchdowns, with no interceptions, and has rushed for 161 yards and three touchdowns.

One of Espinoza’s receivers, TaeVeon Le, is on the verge of becoming CdM’s all-time leader for receiving yards. Le has 2,035 yards, 78 yards shy of Bo St. Geme’s career record.

Le can take down the record, as well as the Sailors, on the same night.

Battle of the Bay prediction

CdM 38, Newport Harbor 10.