Corona del Mar High football coach Dan O’Shea enjoys scheduling Palos Verdes in a nonleague game.
The reason goes far beyond the mascot. Both teams go by Sea Kings.
“Year in and year out, they’re one of the most physical teams in the [CIF] Southern Section,” O’Shea said. “They schedule everybody in the South Bay … That is an incredibly proud and successful program, and we know we are going to have our hands full on the line of scrimmage.”
CdM was up to the challenge Thursday night at Newport Harbor High.
And in the battle of the Sea Kings, one of the tallest players on the field put on a record-setting performance.
John Humphreys, a 6-foot-5 wide receiver, caught a CdM single-game record 13 passes from junior quarterback Ethan Garbers, three going for touchdowns, as the host Sea Kings earned a 28-6 victory.
Humphreys broke the previous CdM single-game record of 11, set by Steven Hillgren in 2006 and matched by Peter Bush in 2015. He finished with 214 yards receiving, including touchdown catches of 60, 40 and nine yards.
Garbers completed 23 of 33 passes for 308 yards. CdM (1-1) spread it around to some degree, as 6-6 junior tight end Mark Redman had five catches for 56 yards, Bradley Schlom caught three passes and Simon Hall had a pair of catches as well.
“We have a ton of guys who can make plays, and I think that freed me up,” said Humphreys, a junior who has offers from Stanford and USC. “They couldn’t really double me, or Mark either. We have a lot of threats on offense. We have a young [offensive] line [led by senior center Sean Owens], and I thought they played better this week. They killed it today.”
CdM, ranked No. 10 in the CIF Southern Section 4 poll, was able to rebound from a 49-7 loss to JSerra last week. CdM scored one touchdown in each quarter against Palos Verdes (0-1), ranked No. 6 in Division 5.
Sophomore running back Jason Vicencio added a two-yard touchdown run for CdM.
Palos Verdes had just one play that went for more than 20 yards. It came late in the first half. Following a timeout, quarterback Jake Jellison hit wide-open receiver Julian Alessi down the right sideline for a 69-yard touchdown. The visitors couldn’t convert the point-after touchdown, but they cut CdM’s lead to 7-6.
CdM came back two possessions later with a 61-yard touchdown drive in the final two minutes of the half, capped by Vicencio’s rushing touchdown. Garbers had a 44-yard completion to Humphreys on the drive, where Humphreys used his size advantage to leap and snag a pass over 5-9 Palos Verdes cornerback Joseph Quinn.
CdM also earned four sacks in the game. On two of them, junior JJ Rottler teamed up with Jonathan Vicencio and Luke Fisher, respectively, while Thomas Bouda and Talal Benahmed also recorded sacks.
“I thought the defense did a really nice job tonight, short of one play, for sure,” O’Shea said. “I thought our offense played well, but I don’t know if we were clicking on all cylinders. I think if you asked our offensive coordinator [Kevin Hettig], he thought we left 14 or 21 more points out there. But we’ll clean it up and get much better. It’s early in the season and we have a lot of young kids on offense.”
CdM hosts El Toro on Aug. 31 at Newport Harbor. After Friday’s win, the team moved past last week’s season-opening loss.
“We had a chip on our shoulder all week this week,” Humphreys said. “We couldn’t go 0-2.”
Corona del Mar 28, Palos Verdes 6
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Palos Verdes 0 – 6 – 0 – 0 — 6
Corona del Mar 7 – 7 – 7 – 7 — 28
CdM – Humphreys 60 pass from Garbers (Voorhees kick), 5:31.
PV – Alessi 69 pass from Jellison (run failed), 3:53.
CdM – Vicencio 2 run (Voorhees kick), 0:33.
CdM – Humphreys 40 pass from Garbers (Voorhees kick), 2:48.
CdM – Humphreys 9 pass from Garbers (Voorhees kick), 11:00.
PV – Kielbasa, 9-30.
CdM – Vicencio, 19-62, 1 TD.
PV – Jellison, 6-15-0, 101, 1 TD.
CdM – Garbers, 23-33-0, 308, 3 TDs.
PV – Alessi, 4-85, 1 TD.