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Prep Review : At Corona del Mar, a Pair of Johnsons Is Better Than One

Talking to Corona del Mar High School football players Warren and Weston Johnson is like talking to twin Tommy Smothers of the comic duo The Smothers Brothers.

The two are brothers--identical twins in fact. They are exciteable and they talk fast and humorously about weird and disjointed topics, which they tie together to make sense--sort of.

“Those guys are cut-ups,” Corona del Mar Coach Dave Holland said. “This team has been a real joy because they are real loose. They have to get scolded every once in a while, but they are good guys.

“They are real impact players. That’s a word used too much, but it’s really true.”

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The two are both wide receivers/defensive backs for the Division VI champion Sea Kings and a big reason for the team’s success.

In the 17-7 victory over top-seeded Valencia for the division title Friday, Warren caught 3 passes for 25 yards, but more importantly intercepted 3 Tracy Garrett passes to end the season with 11 interceptions.

Weston caught 2 passes for 77 yards, including a 53-yard touchdown play from Ty Price.

“They are super,” Price said of the brothers Johnson. “They are fun to be around. They are always laughing and kidding with you and stuff, but when they take the field, something happens. They are all serious, and they are excellent receivers. You can’t be a good quarterback without guys like that.”

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The twins ended the regular season with identical defensive statistics--6 interceptions each.

Unlike Tommy Smothers, who worries that his mother loves brother Dick Smothers more, the Johnsons don’t have to worry about their mother loving one more than the other.

“At the start of the season, Warren was getting all the play--intercepting passes, scoring touchdowns, the whole thing. He was doing really well,” Holland said. “Weston was sitting back, he wasn’t the impact Warren was. Then when we played Santiago, Warren had mononucleosis.

“I’m telling their mom, ‘What am I going to do?’ and she said use Weston because he can do anything Warren can do.”

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Weston intercepted 3 passes, ran 2 of them back for touchdowns, and caught a touchdown pass in a 52-8 victory.

And guess what, Sea View League coaches? These guys are juniors.

Strange origins: Price, who passed Corona del Mar to the title, has an unusual nickname.

His teammates call him “Kodi Bear,” or just plain Bear, after a brand of tobacco dip. Yeah, the stuff you put between your cheek and gum.

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Why? Well it’s not because Price uses the stuff. It seems Price and the Johnson brothers found a can of dip with a picture of a Kodiak bear on it lying on the ground during practice one day. Price picked it up and, as a joke, used it to put the “Kodi Curse,” on that week’s opponent--Tustin, Weston Johnson said.

Did it work? “We won,” Price said of the Sea King’s 13-0 victory.

After that, Price used it every game. “We didn’t necessarily have to have the can, but we would always talk about the Kodi Curse and say it,” Price said.

His hex seems to have been successful. The team won its remaining league game against Newport Harbor and went on to playoff victories over Troy, Anaheim and Pacifica before “The Bear” got his chance to hex Valencia in the Division VI final.

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In that game Price completed 13 of 18 passes for 233 yards and 1 touchdown with 2 interceptions contrasted with Tracy Garrett’s 7 of 24 passes for 92 yards, no touchdowns with 3 interceptions.

The year’s Corona del Mar team had the best record in the 16-year history of the school’s football program. At 12-0-2 it is the only undefeated team in school history and the first to make the finals of the football playoffs.

Love that Kodi Bear.

What’s in the water? In addition to the football championship, the Corona del Mar athletic program has been successful in virtually all fall sports.

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In tennis, freshman Keri Phebus became the first Orange County girl to win the Southern Section individual championship in the 17-year history of the tournament. The girls’ tennis team defeated top-seeded and unbeaten Miraleste to win the 4-A team tennis championship after losing to Miraleste, 13-5, in the regular season.

The boys’ cross-country team won the Division II state championship. The water polo team won its second consecutive Southern Section 4-A championship, and the girls’ volleyball team made it to the Southern Section 5-A quarterfinals. All this from a school with an enrollment of just more than 1,200.

Under investigation: John O’Neil, boys’ soccer coach at Mater Dei High School, said the school is investigating rumors that some members of his team were drinking alcohol at a retreat in Big Bear the weekend of Dec. 3.

O’Neil said while he and members of the school’s administration were conducting the investigation, the varsity team would be suspended from play. Taking its place will be the Monarch junior varsity, which, as a result, participated in this past weekend’s South Torrance tournament.

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“The team policy was some kids got caught for drinking and the team in a sense was involved, so we took the JV in (the varsity’s) place,” O’Neil said. He stressed that if there was drinking, it was confined to two players.

O’Neil accompanied his players on the Big Bear trip, which was designed to promote team unity. He said no drinking went on in front of him.

“If it is true, again these are just rumors going around the school,” he said. “I think we could turn it around and make it a positive thing. Obviously, kids that age should not be drinking. If it is just an isolated case, it still could be a positive experience because the other kids will realize that what a couple of kids did was wrong.

“We are going to be stern in the discipline if we find this is true because we need to set an example. . . . We are here to help them if they have a drinking problem. Kicking out is a last resort.”

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Whether a player caught drinking returns to play for the varsity “is strictly between me and the player,” O’Neil said.

The Monarchs (3-2) are ranked fourth in Division 4-A.

Soccer polls: The Southern Section preseason polls for boys’ and girls’ soccer are here. Palos Verdes High is top-ranked in the boys’ 4-A division. Mater Dei is the top Orange County school in 4-A (No. 4), followed by Fountain Valley (5) and Edison (9).

Division 3-A is led by Diamond Bar. Mission Viejo is fourth and Capistrano Valley ninth.

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In Division 2-A, Laguna Beach is second behind Central Union of El Centro. Laguna Hills is fourth, Katella fifth, Brea-Olinda sixth, Anaheim eighth and Kennedy ninth.

In Division 1-A, Corona is the top-ranked school. Troy is fifth and Saddleback sixth. In the small schools poll, Whittier Christian is second to Cabrillo of Lompoc, and Capistrano Valley Christian is 10th.

In the girls’ polls, Orange County teams dominate Division 4-A with Mission Viejo (No. 1), Capistrano Valley (2), Esperanza (4), El Toro (7), Edison (8) and Corona del Mar (9).

Laguna Hills, the top county school in Division 3-A, is ranked fourth, followed by Sunny Hills (6), La Quinta (7), Mater Dei (9) and Woodbridge (10). Valencia is the top county school in Division 2-A at No. 9.

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It’s a tossup: Janet Evans, winner of 3 gold medals at the Seoul Olympics, tossed the coin to decide which team would kick off to begin Friday night’s Southern Section Division I championship game between Fountain Valley and Bishop Amat at Anaheim Stadium .

Evans, a senior at El Dorado High School, had recently returned from the Macy’s Parade in New York on Thanksgiving Day and was eagerly awaiting the delivery of her first car this week.

Evans spent several minutes practicing her coin flips in the officials’ room before taking the field Friday. When Bill Clark, Southern Section administrator in charge of football, informed Evans that she had to catch the coin, she spent a few more minutes practicing.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Clark said. “She must have spent 10 minutes flipping the coin so that she would look good on the field.”

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Notes

Bishop Amat’s loss to Fountain Valley was only the Lancers’ sixth defeat in the past 4 seasons. Fountain Valley has beaten Bishop Amat twice during the span, including a 42-14 victory in the quarterfinals of last year’s playoffs. . . . The Shrine all-star football game is scheduled for July 29 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. The South team will train at UC Irvine and stay in the school’s dorms. . . . Former Edison lineman Andy Sinclair, a 3-year starting center at Stanford, has been named to the South team that will compete in the 64th East-West Shrine college football game Jan. 15.


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