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High School Football: Moses leads the way for Corona del Mar

High School Football: Moses leads the way for Corona del Mar
(SCOTT SMELTZER, Daily Pilot)

The last time the Corona del Mar High football team beat Newport Harbor in consecutive seasons, three of those four straight wins came against Coach Jeff Brinkley in the 1980s.

Brinkley is still around, as he's in his 29th season at the helm of Newport Harbor. He's nearing the end of his storied career.

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The end of Brinkley's career with the Sailors is beginning to look a lot like the start of it.

Brinkley's team hasn't been able to figure out CdM. No team has in two years.

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The Sea Kings claimed their 30th win a row, defeating the host Sailors, 28-18, in the Battle of the Bay rivalry game in front of a sold-out crowd of 5,000 at Davidson Field on Friday. The latest result gives CdM consecutive wins against the Sailors for the first time since the Sea Kings' run from 1985-88.

The 1988 CdM team almost finished perfect, except for two ties. Twenty-six years later, CdM is trying to produce its second straight flawless season.

Four games into the year, the Sea Kings are undefeated. The top-ranked team in the CIF Southern Section Southwest Division downed last year's runner-up in the Southwest Division.

This year, the Sea Kings moved up to the Southwest Division, considered Division 4, after they won the Southern Division for the third straight year and the CIF State Division III Bowl Game last season. They are in championship form with one nonleague game left.

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The Sailors (1-2) are in a rut, having lost their last two contests. They have also dropped the past two Battle of the Bay games. The last time that happened Brinkley was 36.

Brinkley's team has been the most successful against CdM since 2011, when Scott Meyer took over as the Sea Kings coach. Newport Harbor went into the 53rd edition of the rivalry as the only team to have two victories against CdM in three years. The Sailors last defeated CdM two years ago. A week later, the Sea Kings lost again.

Almost to the day of the Sea Kings' last setback, coming on Sept. 21, 2012, CdM has been on a roll. The program owns the state's longest active winning streak, and matched the 10th best in CIF Southern Section history.

It didn't even matter that CdM played without standout tailback Cole Martin, who missed the game with a right sprained knee. On the Sea Kings' third play from scrimmage, CdM showed it was more than OK without its record-breaking back of a year ago.

Jaydin Moses broke a 63-yard run down the CdM sideline. It was his first carry, coming in the sophomore's first start on varsity. While the Sailors brought him down one-yard shy of the end zone, Moses would finish with a monster game, 20 rushes for 184 yards and two touchdowns.

Quarterback Peter Bush took care of CdM's first score, rushing in to give him his fifth rushing touchdown of the year. Bush used his legs and right arm to put CdM up, 14-0, late in the opening quarter. The junior scrambled around, before he found wide receiver Bo St. Geme running near the sideline. Bush hit St. Geme for a 19-yard touchdown.

It seemed like the Sea Kings would run away with the game, but the Sailors responded in the second quarter. Quarterback Cole Norris, on third-and-20, found wide receiver Riley Gaddis in stride for a 41-yard touchdown. Michael Schultz added a 41-yard field goal with 2:37 left in the first half.

With CdM leading, 14-10, the Sailors had another chance to put up points right before halftime. They took over on their 39, and with 72 seconds left, the Sailors elected to run out the clock after no getting many yards on first down.

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"Going in at 14-10 wasn't that bad for us," said Brinkley, who lost his starting running back, Chance Siemonsma, to an injury in the second quarter. "We felt pretty good about where we were."

The conservative move backfired. To start the second half, CdM received the ball. And the Sea Kings made it a 21-10 lead, driving 66 yards in 10 plays.

On the drive, Bush, who completed 11 of 17 passes for 126 yards, moved the chains with two key third-down completions. He hooked up with St. Geme for 21 yards and Billy Shaw for 16 yards. Once inside the 10-yard line, Moses took over, running three times, the last one resulted in a one-yard touchdown.

The Sailors made it a three-point game late in the third quarter. Norris, who completed 16 of 23 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns, connected with receiver Keaton Cablay (six catches for 85 yards) on a five-yard touchdown. Norris also ran in a two-point conversion, cutting the deficit to 21-18.

That's the closest Newport Harbor got to CdM. The Sea Kings added another touchdown 72 seconds into the fourth quarter. Moses scored on a 21-yard run, and CdM's defense took over from there. Defensive end Parker Chase recorded 2 1/2 sacks, as many as tackle Justin Hess. Hess' second solo sack ended any chance of a Newport Harbor comeback. He stripped the ball from Norris, and Chase pounced on the ball with 3:05 left to play.

"It's surreal," Bush said of winning the Battle of the Bay, which Newport Harbor holds a 38-15 edge in. "I can't even explain it. It's just too good."

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