Corona del Mar High School’s 13-0 shutout over Tustin Friday night brought many gifts to fans of Sea King football.
Not only did Corona del Mar sport a new, entertaining look--freshly-shaven heads and a revved-up offense--the Sea Kings accomplished the following:
First, the victory moved the Sea Kings (7-0-2, 2-0-2) into sole possession of first place in the Sea View League, and assures them a spot in the Southern Section Division VI playoffs beginning Nov. 18.
Second, the Sea Kings moved one step closer to defending their league championship. A victory over city-rival Newport Harbor (2-2) next Friday would clinch the title.
Third, the victory gives the Sea Kings a school-record 9 games without a loss.
Although Tustin outgained Corona del Mar, 259-153 yards in total offense, the Sea Kings made the big plays when they had to.
And, as has been the case all season, Corona del Mar’s defense gave its offense every opportunity--from start to finish.
With the game just 20 seconds old, Bill Rauth intercepted Tustin quarterback Dan Baker and returned it 30 yards to the Tustin 6-yard line.
That set up a 22-yard field goal by Pat Callaghan, and the Sea Kings had a 3-0 lead with 9:24 left in the first quarter.
Callaghan boosted the Sea Kings’ lead to 6-0 with a 26-yard field goal with 3:24 remaining in the first half.
Tustin, meanwhile, could not capitalize on its drives. The Tillers missed 2 field goals of 35 and 34-yards in the first half, and though Baker completed 16 of 35 passes for 219 yards, he was intercepted 5 times.
Three of those interceptions were by Warren Johnson. In doing so, Johnson tied a school record for interceptions in a game. He shares that record with his twin brother, Weston, who had the same number against Santiago Sept. 22.
Johnson’s second interception set up the Sea Kings final touchdown. He returned it 25 yards to the Tustin 16. Brian Lucas scored on a 3-yard run, and Callaghan’s kick gave the Sea Kings a 13-0 lead.
Tustin didn’t really threaten again until late in the second half. Corona del Mar’s defense, anchored by linebackers Chris Deuchar and John Katovsich, held Tustin to just 39 yards in rushing in the second half.
A final Tiller drive with 52 seconds remaining in the game fizzled with an interception in the end zone by Johnson.
“Our defense played well again, but our offense finally put together some drives tonight,” Corona del Mar Coach Dave Holland said. “What really helped is that we finally started moving the ball.
“We were down after the Saddleback game (which ended in a scoreless tie last Friday), but you know, this is a hell of a funny league, isn’t it?”
Tustin (3-5-1, 1-2-1) is now tied for fourth with University and Estancia.