Corona del Mar football grinds out win at Trabuco Hills
The Corona del Mar High football team had back-to-back losses headed into its bye week, which gave the players and coaches a chance to ruminate on needed improvements.
Coming out of the bye, an away game at Trabuco Hills on Friday night was not a cupcake final tuneup before beginning Sunset League play.
CdM won ugly, grinding out a 17-15 victory over the Mustangs.
“We weren’t in tune,” CdM coach Kevin Hettig said. “We were out of sync a lot tonight … but I thought our kids met the challenge. This game is a win. It’s an ugly win against a team that I thought played very well, they were coached extremely well tonight. It was an uphill battle a lot of the night, but our kids fought hard and played well.”
Senior quarterback Kaleb Annett threw two touchdown passes to senior receiver Russell Weir to account for the Sea Kings’ two touchdowns. Senior kicker Colin Pene, who had multiple tackles for a loss from his linebacker position, also made a 26-yard field goal.
Corona del Mar (3-2) was called for 17 penalties for 125 yards, including five penalties alone on its opening drive. The Sea Kings still put points on the board, when Annett found Weir on an eight-yard touchdown pass.
“Hat’s off to them,” Hettig said. “They were making a move call that sounded just like our cadence, so our guys were flinching and jumping every time they would move at the line of scrimmage … but we’re going to have to cut that stuff out. We can’t be second-and-20 all night.”
Trabuco Hills’ biggest play of the night came later in the first quarter. Quarterback Jacob Perry faked the hand off and bounced outside, finding plenty of open real estate on a 27-yard touchdown.
Perry also ran in the two-point conversion on a similar play, and it held up for Trabuco Hills (3-2) to take an 8-7 halftime lead.
CdM tried to distance itself in the fourth quarter. Annett connected deep to the left to Weir on a 26-yard touchdown pass, which gave the visitors a 17-8 lead with 10:49 remaining.
Annett finished with 197 yards passing, 83 of those to Weir, who recorded his second multi-touchdown game of the season.
“It’s been all four years with me and him,” Weir said. “This is our final year together, so we’ve just got to make the most of it. We’ve built that connection our whole lives, growing up together.”
Trabuco Hills answered with a three-yard touchdown run by Perry midway through the quarter. The subsequent CdM drive ran the clock into the final minute, though a pass to Weir was incomplete in the end zone on fourth down.
The Mustangs got the ball back with 40 seconds left and no timeouts, and couldn’t get it past midfield.
Weir also recovered a fumble on defense for CdM, which survived despite a tipped-ball interception and a muffed punt.
Junior Wyatt Lucas and senior Owen Sanders ran hard for the Sea Kings, with Lucas also adding a couple of good kickoff returns that gave CdM possession near midfield.
CdM opens Sunset League play on the road on Friday night, against Edison (2-3) at Cap Sheue Field.
“It’s all about our practice,” Weir said. “We’ve got to really bring up the intensity, get in the film room and study hard for them.”
The Chargers have beaten the Sea Kings each of the last three seasons, including last year’s 40-13 result.
“I think going into league, this game was probably better for us than if we win by four scores and think we’re untouchable,” Hettig said. “We have work to do. When you play an opponent like this, and you don’t get the explosives you need to kind of separate this game, it’s going to show you where you’re lacking. We have a limited amount of time to work on where we’re lacking.
“It’s Sunset League time. Our kids will be ready.”
Corona del Mar 17, Trabuco Hills 15
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Corona del Mar 7 - 0 - 3 - 7 - 17
Trabuco Hills 8 - 0 - 0 - 7 - 15
CdM – Weir 8 pass from Annett (Pene kick), 7:01.
TH – Perry 27 run (Perry run). 3:43.
CdM – Pene 26 FG, 3:12.
CdM – Weir 26 pass from Annett (Pene kick), 8:49.
TH – Perry 3 run (Mohebi kick), 6:17.
CdM – Lucas, 12-79.
TH – Perry, 5-50, 2 TDs; Bowie, 17-43.
CdM – Annett, 17-29-1, 197, 2 TDs.
TH - Perry, 18-29-0, 121.
CdM – Weir, 7-83, 2 TDs; Stecker, 3-32; Giuliano, 3-28.
TH – Luce, 5-60.
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