CdM football can’t keep up with Yorba Linda in CIF Division 3 semifinals
Corona del Mar will remember this football season with great satisfaction after absorbing overwhelming adversity — decimated by season-ending injuries to several pivotal players, most of all — to claw into the CIF Southern Section semifinals for the ninth time in the past decade and a half.
The season ended in a 51-20 defeat Friday night at Yorba Linda in a CIF Southern Section Division 3 final-four clash, a blowout that was, almost from the start, never in question.
The top-seeded Sea Kings (9-4) had no answers after falling behind right away, were finished by halftime and watched the No. 4 Mustangs put on a performance for the ages.
“How impressive were they?” CdM head coach Dan O’Shea asked after Corona del Mar lost for the first time in semifinal outings over 11 seasons. “Unbelievable. That was one of the most well-coached, fundamentally sound and unbelievable execution by a football team in the 25 years I’ve been coaching. ... They kicked the garbage out of us for 48 minutes. We haven’t had our cages rattled like that in years.”
Yorba Linda (13-0), efficiently balancing a devastating play-action passing attack with William Saucedo’s powerful inside running, scored every time it had the ball but twice, while rolling up 20 first downs on 45 first-team snaps and facing a third-down play just five times.
Reyn Beal, rarely under pressure, completed 13 of 14 throws for 259 yards and a couple of touchdowns, all in the first three quarters. Saucedo, behind a dominant offensive line, hit triple-digits for the sixth straight week and ninth time this season, running for 129 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries.
“It was kind of like, ‘Wow.’ Everything we’d drawn up all week that was supposed to work, wasn’t working,” said Sea Kings quarterback David Rasor, who hit on 32 of 43 passes for a season-best 337 yards and three scores, but turned the ball over three times. “Defensively, offensively — they played better than us tonight. They were more prepared for us, and the scoreboard was what it was.”
Corona del Mar hadn’t surrendered so many points since Los Alamitos scored 52 during last year’s pandemic-shortened spring season.
“We played to our potential, and it was a lot of fun,” Yorba Linda head coach Jeff Bailey said. “When you’re executing correctly and things like that, good things are going to happen. Our kids prepared their butts off all week, and I think they played like they prepared.”
Yorba Linda, which won the Division 8 title in 2016, will play for the Division 3 championship next week on the road against Upland (9-4), a 17-7 winner over Santa Barbara Bishop Diego.
The Mustangs went ahead right away, marching 70 yards on eight plays, with Saucedo running the final 7 yards. They forced a three-and-out from CdM and made it 13-0 five plays later on a 13-yard end around from Jason Escovar.
Corona del Mar looked like it would make a game of it after that, going 80 yards on 11 plays with Rasor sprinting for a first down to set up a 19-yard touchdown pass to Mason Kubichek. First play after the kickoff, Beal found an open J.J. Conrad at the Sea Kings 40 for a 70-yard score and a 20-7 lead.
The Mustangs scored on both second-quarter possessions. They took a 20-point lead on Escovar’s 16-yard run after Nicco Nicoletti intercepted Rasor, then added a 40-yard Jayden Flaig field-goal on their only fourth-down play before the bench emptied near the end.
It was over when Wyatt Mosier intercepted Rasor on the first play following the second-half kickoff. Beal hit Flaig in the end zone for a 13-yard score and a 37-7 edge four plays later.
“We thought we could make some changes and get some stops defensively, and those didn’t even work,” O’Shea said. ... “Our staff takes great pride in being a step ahead of others. [Yorba Linda’s staff] were a step ahead of us all night in everything we did.”
Rasor drove Corona del Mar 80 yards for another score, connecting with Kubichek for 25 yards and Jack Loucks for 13 to set up a 1-yard toss to Zach Giuliano. Two more Mustangs touchdowns — both on Saucedo rushes — made it 51-13 and brought a running clock for the final 11:42.
Rasor wasn’t done. He completed six of eight throws on the Sea Kings’ final, 80-yard drive, the last to the end zone for Cooper Hoch’s 21st touchdown reception this season. Hoch caught eight balls for 100 yards, his ninth triple-digit game of the year.
CIF Southern Section Division 3 playoffs
Yorba Linda 51, Corona del Mar 20
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Corona del Mar 7 - 0 - 6 - 7 — 20
Yorba Linda 20 - 10 - 14 - 7 — 51
YL — Saucedo 7 run (Flaig kick), 8:08.
YL — Escovar 13 run (kick failed), 5:12.
CdM — Kubichek 19 pass from Rasor (Pene kick), 0:56.
YL — Conrad 70 pass from Beal (Flaig kick), 0:38.5.
YL — Escovar 16 run (Flaig kick), 7:29.
YL — Flaig 40 FG, 1:27.
YL — Flaig 13 pass from Beal (Flaig kick), 9:55.
CdM — Giuliano 1 pass from Rasor (kick failed), 7:15.
YL — Saucedo 1 run (Flaig kick), 1:30.
YL — Saucedo 22 run (Flaig kick), 11:42.
CdM — Hoch 11 pass from Rasor (Pene kick), 5:12.
CdM — Pene, 7-42.
YL — Saucedo, 22-129, 3 TDs.
CdM — Rasor, 32-43-2, 337, 3 TDs.
YL — Beal, 13-14-0, 259, 2 TDs.
CdM — Hoch, 8-100, 1 TD.
YL — Conrad, 3-103, 1 TD.
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