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CdM football rolls past Fountain Valley in Sunset League opener

Corona del Mar's Oliver Ayala (5), far right, celebrates a touchdown.
Corona del Mar’s Oliver Ayala (5), far right, celebrates a touchdown after a punt return during a Sunset League football opener against Fountain Valley on Thursday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

David Rasor was back taking snaps for Corona del Mar High, at least for a spell, and the Sea Kings responded with their best outing of the season to rout Fountain Valley in the Sunset League’s opening game.

Thursday night’s 42-7 romp at Huntington Beach High, with CdM scoring all of its points before halftime, was primarily preparation for next week’s showdown with defending champion and league favorite Los Alamitos, and it was the product, head coach Dan O’Shea noted, of a program reset during the team’s bye week after a tight win two weeks ago over San Juan Hills.

The visiting Sea Kings (5-1 overall), handicapped most of the campaign by myriad injuries, put up 28 points in the first quarter, marching 80 yards on the opening drive — with Rasor completing four of six throws for 38 yards, the last an 8-yard screen pass to Colin Pene just two minutes in — then quickly extended their advantage to 14 points on Oliver Ayala’s 39-yard punt return on their next touch.

Corona del Mar's Cooper Hoch (1) makes a catch over a defender in the end zone during a Sunset League opener on Thursday.
Corona del Mar’s Cooper Hoch (1) makes a catch over a defender in the end zone for a touchdown during a Sunset League football opener against Fountain Valley on Thursday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

They added two more on touchdown passes to Cooper Hoch, the first covering 15 yards from Kaleb Annett, who traded series with Rasor in the first quarter, then ran the offense into the middle of the third quarter. The second was a 35-yard, fourth-down throw from the UC Davis-bound Rasor.

The senior standout got in three series, completing seven of 13 throws for 91 yards — giving him 544 yards and eight touchdowns in nine quarters of work this year — to get back up to speed before taking on Los Alamitos next Thursday night at Newport Harbor. He had a blast.

“It was incredible,” said Rasor, who missed three games after suffering a high right ankle sprain at the end of a victory at Northern California power Los Gatos in Corona del Mar’s second game. “The time out was kind of hard for me — you realize how much you love it and how much you appreciate it and how much you miss your teammates and how much you wish you could be out there helping them — and tonight was just awesome.

“After that first touchdown, I just looked up and was like, ‘All right, thank you, God. You blessed me, you got me back soon, and it was a good time.’”

Corona del Mar's Cooper Hoch (1) makes a catch in the end zone in a Sunset League football opener versus Fountain Valley.
Corona del Mar’s Cooper Hoch (1) makes a catch in the end zone during a Sunset League football opener against Fountain Valley on Thursday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Annett completed 14 of 20 passes for 202 yards, almost all of it before halftime, and three touchdowns, hitting Russell Weir for a 20-yard score with 4:37 left in the first half and Hoch for 11 yards just six seconds before the break.

Weir, returning from a concussion that cost him two games, caught four balls for 64 yards — all for first downs, including the touchdown — and Hoch grabbed six for 131 yards and his ninth, 10th and 11th touchdowns, the fifth time he’s reached triple-digit yards this season.

The Barons (4-2) lost fumbles on two of their first four possessions and went three-and-out every other time they had the ball. Fountain Valley’s lone first down until the last play of the third quarter came on Nolan Olivares’ 9-yard, fake-punt scamper against CdM’s regular defense — until putting together a 48-yard touchdown drive against the Sea Kings’ reserves.

Fountain Valley's Nolan Oliveras (13) makes a first down run during a Sunset League football opener against CdM on Thursday.
Fountain Valley’s Nolan Oliveras (13) makes a first down run during a Sunset League football opener against Corona del Mar on Thursday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Abdel Habibeh tallied the Barons’ touchdown, on a 4-yard run, a score set up by Ben Pham’s 11-yard gain to close the third quarter and Habibeh’s 13-yard run on the following play. Fountain Valley totaled just 76 yards, 46 on the ground, after gaining just 5 rushing yards through the first three quarters.

“That [performance] was after a long bye week,” said O’Shea, who in 2019 guided the Sea Kings to their fourth CIF Southern Section and second CIF State bowl titles in nine seasons. “We needed to reset our entire program. We were feeling sorry for ourselves. Myself as head coach showed poor leadership. We’ve been pouting for four or five weeks with nine starters out, lost to injuries, and we were feeling sorry for ourselves. And it took the entire week to reset the culture of our program.

“We’ve never won a game based on size, speed, athleticism here at Corona del Mar. The only reason we’ve won football games is a culture and how we play together. And it took a long week to reset that as a team, and what you saw tonight wasn’t anything more than a team playing the Corona del Mar way.”

Corona del Mar's Colin Post (4) and Ethan Vicencio (54) sack Fountain Valley quarterback Noa Banua (18) on Thursday.
Corona del Mar’s Colin Post (4) and Ethan Vicencio (54) sack Fountain Valley quarterback Noa Banua (18) during a Sunset League football opener on Thursday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Sunset League

Corona del Mar 42, Fountain Valley 7

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Corona del Mar 28 -14 - 0 - 0 — 42

Fountain Valley 0 - 0 - 0 - 7 — 7

FIRST QUARTER

CdM — Pene 8 pass from Rasor (Pene kick), 9:59.

CdM — Ayala 39 punt return (Pene kick), 8:10.

CdM — Hoch 15 pass from Annett (Pene kick), 2:50.

CdM — Hoch 35 pass from Rasor (Pene kick), 0:00.

SECOND QUARTER

CdM — Weir 20 pass from Annett (Pene kick), 4:37.

CdM — Hoch 11 pass from Annett (Pene kick), 0:06.

FOURTH QUARTER

FV — Habibeh 4 run (Olivares kick), 10:20.

INDIVIDUAL RUSHING

CdM — Pene, 6-38; Short, 11-21.

FV — Habibeh 10-26, TD.

INDIVIDUAL PASSING

CdM — Annett, 14-20-0, 202, 3 TDs; Rasor, 7-13-0, 91, 2 TDs.

FV — Banua, 7-16-0, 30.

INDIVIDUAL RECEIVING

CdM — Hoch, 6-131, 3 TDs; Weir, 4-64, TD; Loucks, 5-45.

FV — Olivares, 2-12.

Corona del Mar's Oliver Ayala (5) finds a gap and runs for a touchdown on a punt return against Fountain Valley on Thursday.
Corona del Mar’s Oliver Ayala (5) finds a gap and runs for a touchdown on a punt return during a Sunset League football opener against Fountain Valley on Thursday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

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