Ethan Garbers wears No. 4 at Corona del Mar High. There’s a reason why his jersey is one number higher than the one his older brother Chase Garbers put on for the Sea Kings.
“My freshman coach, John Griffin, said, ‘You can’t wear No. 3. You can’t have the same legacy as your brother,’” Ethan said of the conversation he had two years ago, when he was a freshman quarterback and Chase was a senior quarterback. “I chose No. 4, just to choose my own path.”
Chase last played for CdM in 2016, but Ethan hears the comparisons between him and Chase. The comparisons are starting to make sense.
In just his third start on varsity, Ethan is putting up numbers like Chase did at quarterback.
Out of all the talented quarterbacks to play for the Sea Kings, only one had passed for six touchdowns in a game. Make that two now, and both signal-callers come from the Garbers family.
Ethan joined Chase in the CdM record book on Friday. The junior threw for six touchdowns, tying the school’s single-game record, and the host Sea Kings blew out El Toro 59-6 at Newport Harbor High on Friday.
While Chase had six touchdown passes in a game in 2016 and 2015, he never threw that many against the Chargers. The younger Garbers lit up El Toro’s secondary, leading the Sea Kings (2-1), ranked No. 4 in the CIF Southern Section Division 4 poll, past the No. 8-ranked team in Division 3 for their second straight nonleague win.
Half of Garbers’ 12 completions went for scores, and he finished with 278 yards, all in the first half. His night was over right after he threw a 19-yard touchdown to John Humphreys with 64 seconds left in the first half. The score was all Humphreys. The junior somehow stayed in bounds near the CdM sideline, tip-toeing away from a would-be tackler and running up field to complete the touchdown.
“It feels good,” Garbers said of tying the record set by his brother, who is now a redshirt freshman quarterback at Cal. “The receivers and the offensive line just put me in a good spot to put up those numbers.”
Humphreys, coming off last week’s record-setting 13-catch performance against Palos Verdes, delivered another gem. The 6-foot-5 wide receiver caught five passes, four going for touchdowns, for 155 yards.
Humphreys and Garbers hooked up on scores of 18, 53 and 42 yards. Garbers’ other touchdowns went to receiver Bradley Schlom, on a 40-yard pass over the middle, and tight end Mark Redman, on a nine-yard out to the left.
Garbers and the rest of the offensive starters did not play in the second half. The offense, along with the defense, got to relax before CdM plays at Lakewood (0-2) on Sept. 7.
“I think he had a nice night,” CdM coach Dan O’Shea said of Garbers, who completed 12 of 21 passes. “Going into the game, El Toro’s defense had done such a good job this year. They pressure the backfield and it’s really difficult to run the football against them. I think they’re blitzing five or six [players] most plays, and playing man-to-man coverage, so we had to take advantage of the matchups. We were able to pitch it and catch it. It was a good night for us offensively.”
The Sea Kings, whose 59 points are the most the Chargers (2-1) have allowed in five years, actually got off to an inauspicious start.
The first snap to Garbers never reached him. Center Sean Owens recovered his own snap. Four plays later, on fourth-and-eight near midfield, Garbers took the snap cleanly in shotgun, but his pass was way off target and CdM turned the ball over on downs.
The next seven CdM drives went for scores, resulting in a 52-6 halftime lead.
The Sea Kings also scored on defense. Jack Elliott picked off an Austin Stover pass and returned it 24 yards for a touchdown with 5:04 left in the first half. Stover, who was sacked twice by Ethan Jajonie and Carter Duss, and once by Thomas Bouda, also threw a pick-six in the third quarter. Kevin Ledezma returned it 51 yards.
Humphreys, who played a couple of series at safety, approved of the efforts by the defensive and offensive lines.
“Ethan was slinging it tonight, but I think our [offensive] line played the best [it has] ever played,” said Humphreys, referring to Bouda at left tackle, Tanner Tomlinson at left guard, Owens at center, Hunter Schimm at right guard and Vinny Provenza at right tackle. “Credit to our defense. They got a ton of stops.”
The same could not be said about El Toro’s defense against Garbers and Humphreys.
Corona del Mar 59, El Toro 6
SCORE BY QUARTERS
El Toro 0 – 6 – 0 – 0 — 6
CdM 14 – 38 – 7 – 0 — 59
CdM – Schlom 40 pass from Garbers (Schroeder kick), 4:31.
CdM – Humphreys 18 pass from Garbers (Schroeder kick), :56.
CdM – Redman 9 pass from Garbers (Schroeder kick), 9:58.
CdM – Humphreys 53 pass from Garbers (Schroeder kick), 8:34.
ET – Whipple 76 pass from Stover (kick failed), 7:38.
CdM – Humphreys 42 pass from Garbers (Schroeder kick), 7:19.
CdM – Schroeder 42 FG, 5:15.
CdM – Elliott 24 INT return (Schroeder kick), 5:04.
CdM – Humphreys 19 pass from Garbers (Schroeder kick), 1:04.
CdM – Ledezma 51 INT return (Schroeder kick), 7:37.
ET – Hamilton, 6-36.
CdM – Sullivan, 5-35.
ET – Stover, 9-23-2, 126, 1 TD.
CdM – Garbers, 12-21-0, 278, 6 TDs.
ET – Whipple, 2-84, 1 TD.