Corona del Mar High senior quarterback Ethan Garbers and the Sea Kings offense made quite a statement Friday night.
The season opener against Downey turned into a showcase for Garbers and CdM’s vaunted passing attack.
A new season brought even loftier numbers for Garbers in a 57-20 victory at Newport Harbor.
He completed 23 of 27 passes for 480 yards and eight touchdowns. The yardage and touchdown numbers also broke Garbers’ own school records of 476 yards, set last year against Fountain Valley, and seven touchdowns, set in the Battle of the Bay last year against Newport Harbor.
“It’s crazy, for sure,” said Garbers, bound for the University of Washington. “I’m just super-excited that it’s football season again. That offseason was long, and I missed football a lot. That it’s coming back and we’re getting back into it is just the best feeling ever.”
The Sea Kings spread it around, as all of Garbers’ four main receivers had at least four catches and a touchdown. Stanford-bound John Humphreys had seven catches for 167 yards, while senior Bradley Schlom had six catches for 80 yards and three scores.
Senior receiver Simon Hall added four catches for 160 yards and a touchdown, and University of Washington-bound senior tight end Mark Redman had five catches for 79 yards and another score.
After the game, Garbers shared his belief that he has the best high school receiving corps in the nation.
“We’ve got a lot of momentum going forward,” Schlom said. “We’ve still got a lot of stuff to work on and we’re not even close to our peak right now. Our goal is 15 more games. I think when we get in a groove, it’s hard to stop us, definitely.”
One change this year for CdM, ranked No. 2 in CIF Southern Section Division 3, is that Humphreys and Redman are both playing a bit of outside linebacker on defense. It was Humphreys who stopped the scramble of Downey quarterback Christopher Hernandez on the Vikings’ opening drive in the red zone.
Hernandez was tackled at the CdM six, a yard short of a first down. The Sea Kings then scored touchdowns on their first four possessions and opened up a 35-7 halftime lead.
CdM ended up getting interceptions by Brian Sandlin and Connor McDonald, as well as a fumble recovery by Jonathan Binnquist.
“I thought we played pretty stout after that, short of a couple of plays,” CdM coach Dan O’Shea said.
CdM played without its starting running back, junior Jason Vicencio, who O’Shea said had a sore neck following last week’s scrimmage at Tesoro. That opened the door for senior Riley Binnquist, who had eight carries for 73 yards and also proved useful in pass protection for Garbers.
“That was huge,” O’Shea said. “I was really proud of him. That’s the story of the night … that was big out of a senior, first-year starter.”
O’Shea was aware that the team struggled in the scrimmage at Tesoro, but Friday night’s performance should put any worries to rest. The offensive line of junior left tackle Thomas Bouda, sophomore left guard Cole Clemmer, senior center Tanner Tomlinson, junior right guard Hunter Schimmelpfennig and senior right tackle Vinny Provenza gave Garbers time all night long.
“At Tesoro, we were not sharp,” O’Shea said. “Everybody was in panic mode, but it’s Ethan freaking Garbers. He knows how to play quarterback, he knows our offense. It was a good opportunity to reset. Let’s get a live rush in front of him, be able to make the throws that he can. I’m really proud of him for embracing that. I thought he was unbelievable tonight.”
CdM travels to Northern California to play against Mountain View St. Francis on Aug. 30.
“Getting momentum to go up north next week to play a good St. Francis team is huge,” Garbers said. “We’ve got a lot of momentum going into next week. We’re going to practice hard, play physical and hopefully just dominate up there.”
Corona del Mar 57, Downey 20
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Downey 0 – 7 – 7 – 6 — 20
CdM 7 – 28 –22 – 0 — 57
CdM – Humphreys 14 pass from Garbers (Voorhees kick), 4:03.
CdM – Humphreys 8 pass from Garbers (Voorhees kick), 11:29.
CdM – Schlom 6 pass from Garbers (Voorhees kick), 10:07.
D – Allen 3 run (Medina kick), 7:14.
CdM – Hall 87 pass from Garbers (Voorhees kick), 3:54.
CdM – Schlom 32 pass from Garbers (Voorhees kick), :29.
CdM – Humphreys 53 pass from Garbers (Voorhees kick), 11:18.
CdM – Schlom 21 pass from Garbers (Voorhees kick), 4:59.
D – Caldwell 18 pass from Hernandez (Medina kick), 3:34.
CdM – Redman 5 pass from Garbers (Binnquist run), 2:01.
D – Hollis 15 pass from De Anda, :00.
D – Allen, 13-82, 1 TD.
CdM –R. Binnquist, 8-73.
D – Hernandez, 8-15-2, 91, 1 TD.
CdM – Garbers, 23-27-0, 480, 8 TDs.
D – Apodaca, 6-59.
CdM – Humphreys, 7-167, 2 TDs.
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