NEWPORT BEACH — One of the biggest questions in the Pacific Coast League was answered with authority Friday night at Newport Harbor.
Can anyone beat Corona del Mar?
The answer was a resounding 'no' on homecoming night, in a 51-14 thumping of Northwood (2-5, 1-1 in league, in which the Sea Kings scored 30 unanswered points to start the game.
A 24-16 Beckman loss to Woodbridge on Friday means Corona del Mar is all alone atop the league standings at 2-0 (5-2 overall).
"Our offense moved the ball well," Sea Kings head coach Scott Meyer said. "We feel we have three good running backs back there. We got Cole [Martin] going tonight."
CdM had a nice three-headed monster on the ground as it rushed for 364 yards and five touchdowns. Martin, a sophomore running back, scored three first-half touchdowns and ran for 103 yards on just eight carries. Senior Kai Wilson had 131 yards on 15 carries, including a nice 34-yard sprint in the fourth quarter. Senior quarterback Cayman Carter gained another 74 tough, tackle-busting yards on 12 carries and another TD.
Meyer, who on Monday was named ABC7's Coach of the Week, asked his players in the postgame huddle, "Who's in the driver's seat?" His players, in unity, answered "We are".
Meyer couldn't have said it any better and his players communicated that message with a total team effort. That included the big night on the ground, two interceptions, a blocked field goal returned by Brett Greenlee for a touchdown as the clock wound down in the first half, for a 27-0 halftime lead.
Throw in a goal-line stand for good measure to preserve a 14-0 lead and you have yourself a recipe for success. On fourth-and-one, senior outside linebacker Alexi Molinari tackled quarterback Kevin Norman, who faked a handoff inside and tried to punch it in by running along the outside, at the 1 for a momentum-changing play.
"That was a great stand by our defense," Meyer said. "Our defense stepped up huge for us tonight. We got a blocked kick for six [points]."
Martin joined the dual threat of Wilson and Carter on one of the biggest games of his career.
"We've just gotta keep working, keep it going," Martin said of the team's goal to defend its CIF Southern Section Southern Division championship. "The line was blocking really well, our receivers blocked great for us."
Wilson had about as quiet a 131 yards as one could have, gaining the tough yards on a 10-play, 80 yard TD drive to open the game. Martin took it in from five yards out and CdM never trailed from there.
"This is a real confidence booster for our team," Wilson said. "It was real good to get a win on homecoming. We'll have real good energy for the next coming weeks."
In the postgame huddle, Meyer emphatically told his players, "No one comes into your house and takes it away from us."
No one even came close during a happy homecoming win.
Pacific Coast League
Corona del Mar 51, Northwood 14
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Northwood 0 – 0 – 7 – 7 – 14
Corona del Mar 14 – 13 – 10 – 14 – 51
CdM – Martin 5 run (Amies kick), 8:06.
CdM – Cayman 1 run (Amies kick), 1:39.
CdM – Martin 1 run (Amies kick failed), :55.
CdM – Greenlee 72 return on blocked field goal (Amies kick), :01.
CdM – Amies 43 field goal, 9:33
NW – Norman 6 run (Nellesen kick), 4:58.
CdM – Martin 19 run (Amies kick), :48.
NW – Norman 9 run (Nellesen kick), 11:52.
CdM – Wilson 34 run, 10:15.
CdM – Napolitano 5 run, 4:40.
CdM – Wilson, 15-131, 1 TD.
NW – Norman, 12-53, 2 TDs.
CdM – Carter, 7-13-0, 76.
NW – Norman, 11-14-2, 124.
CdM – Reese, 10-46.
NW – Albright, 4-60.