For as much as the Corona del Mar High football team accomplished last season, it’s easy to see why the Sea Kings would feel they come into 2019 with unfinished business.
CdM coach Dan O’Shea, in his fifth year as head coach, is not big on naming opponents when measuring his team’s success.
“It’s based on how we play,” he said. “If we play well, we hope to be competitive and successful. If we don’t play well, that’s on us.”
Still, the season goals are clear. The celebrated senior class, which includes University of Washington-bound senior quarterback Ethan Garbers, Stanford-bound receiver John Humphreys and Washington-bound tight end Mark Redman, wants to go out with a CIF championship.
CdM has come close two of the last three years; in 2016 the Sea Kings lost 36-35 to Chatsworth Sierra Canyon in overtime in the Division 4 final.
This year, the Sea Kings have moved up to Division 3.
“I can’t wait to go out there and battle with some of my best friends, my brothers,” said Garbers, who threw for 4,135 yards and 55 touchdowns last year, both CdM single-season records. “It’s going to be a fun year. I’m excited for what we’re going to do. [We’re] just trying to go 16-0 and win a state championship.”
The Sea Kings certainly have reason to be confident on offense, where they return 10 starters. Center Sean Owens graduated, so senior Tanner Tomlinson will slide over to that spot from left guard. The offensive line also includes junior left tackle Thomas Bouda, sophomore left guard Cole Clemmer, junior right guard Hunter Schimmelpfennig and senior right tackle Vinny Provenza.
Humphreys, last year’s Daily Pilot Dream Team Player of the Year, is a four-year starter. He returns after tallying 103 receptions for 1,783 yards and 28 touchdowns last year, all CdM single-season records.
Seniors Bradley Schlom and Simon Hall are other standout returning receivers, while senior Jason Vicencio returns at running back.
“It’s great,” Garbers said. “All of the guys around me … it’s a blessing. I’m truly blessed just to get back there with those guys, have two years under my belt with them and just know we’re going to kill it this year.”
The Sea Kings return six starters on defense, including senior defensive ends Jack Rottler and Carter Duss. Rottler is back healthy, O’Shea said, after playing through a torn hip labrum last season.
Juniors Connor Brooks and Brock Preston are also expected to step in be key contributors on the defensive line, O’Shea said, as well as senior nose guard Max Farzine, who was an offensive lineman last season.
Seniors Cole Rener, Luke Sullivan and Chase Zanck are all returning at linebacker, while senior Chandler Fincher is a returning All-CIF cornerback and junior Tommy Griffin is back at safety.
“We didn’t get the CIF ring, so we’re just trying to get that this year,” Rener said. “There’s definitely a buzz. Everyone’s ready to pad up and get out onto the field.
“A lot more guys have been taking this year seriously. I think they’ve been cracking down more on who’s [messing] around and who’s taking this seriously, who wants to win.”
A new twist to the nonleague schedule this season is that the Sea Kings travel to Northern California for a game at Mountain Valley St. Francis on Aug. 30, after opening against Downey at Newport Harbor High on Aug. 23.
St. Francis went 11-3 last season, winning the West Catholic League before losing 31-30 to San Jose Valley Christian in the CIF Central Coast Section Open Division II championship game.
Winning a state title for CdM would be the program’s second, as it won the CIF State Division III Bowl Game in 2013. Back then, O’Shea was the defensive coordinator under Scott Meyer and the Sea Kings became the first team in state history to finish 16-0.
Motivation for another perfect season is easy to find. Just mention the words, “Grace Brethren,” a team which by the way also moved up to Division 3.
“We just remember how that last game [last year] felt,” Schlom said. “We don’t want to ever feel that again.”
CORONA DEL MAR SEA KINGS
CIF Southern Section Division: 3
Coach: Dan O’Shea (fifth year)
Staff: Kevin Hettig (associate head coach/offensive coordinator), Brian Pearsall (defensive coordinator), Tony Thornon (strength and conditioning/secondary), Jacob Morado (tight ends/running backs/special teams), Clay Kennedy (offensive line), Teddy Barber (outside linebackers/defensive line), Jaydin Moses (running backs), Ryan Ketcham (wide receivers), Eric Asaro (defensive line), Mark Cunningham (secondary), Jack O’Shea (defensive assistant), Bob Hettig (offensive assistant), Cassidy Filpi (trainer)
2018 season: 11-2-1, 4-0-1 in the Pacific Coast League (tied for first place), lost 26-14 to Grace Brethren in the CIF Southern Section Division 4 title game
Offensive scheme: No huddle, spread option
Defensive scheme: 4-3
Returning offensive starters: 10
Returning defensive starters: Six
Returning with honors: Sr. QB Ethan Garbers, Sr. WR/S John Humphreys, Sr. CB Chandler Fincher, Sr. WR Bradley Schlom, Sr. TE Mark Redman, Jr. OL Thomas Bouda, Sr. DE Carter Duss, Sr. WR Simon Hall, Sr. C Tanner Tomlinson
23 — vs. Downey at Newport Harbor High
30 — at Mountain View St. Francis
6 — at Palos Verdes, 3 p.m.
13 — vs. Lakewood at Newport Harbor High
26 — vs. San Clemente at Newport Harbor High
3 — at Huntington Beach*
11 — vs. Edison* at Newport Harbor High
17 — vs. Fountain Valley* at Huntington Beach High
25 — at Newport Harbor*
1 — vs. Los Alamitos* at Newport Harbor High
*denotes league game
All games 7 p.m. unless noted
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