It had been only six days since Corona del Mar High quarterback Ethan Garbers watched his older brother, Chase, lead the Cal football team to victory against USC at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
The younger Garbers called that performance “pretty inspiring,” but not before he had put on a show himself in a CIF Southern Section Division 4 semifinal at Camarillo.
Garbers produced 414 yards of total offense and seven touchdowns in the top-seeded Sea Kings’ 49-17 victory over the Scorpions on Friday night.
Garbers completed 23 of 34 passes for 399 yards and six touchdowns, and ran for a score. His No. 1 target was John Humphreys, who had 10 catches for 216 yards and three touchdowns.
The junior duo led the Sea Kings to their seventh section championship game. CdM (11-1-1) will travel to play No. 3 Simi Valley Grace Brethren (11-2) in the final on Nov. 23 or Nov. 24. The Lancers defeated Villa Park 34-31 in overtime in a semifinal at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange.
The Sea Kings have not lost a game since opening the season with a 49-7 setback at JSerra.
“We’re just ring chasing,” Garbers said. “Ever since that game, our whole motto has just been, ‘Chase the ring.’ That’s what we’re after. That’s what our goal is, and we’re trying to chase that right now.”
CdM is going back to a CIF title game for the second time in three seasons. In 2016, the Sea Kings lost to Chatsworth Sierra Canyon 36-35 in double overtime.
“You never know when you get back,” Sea Kings coach Dan O’Shea said. “We were there in 2016, didn’t finish the job. We’re here in 2018 again, and we look forward to the opportunity. We’re going to have to play really well against a cold-weather team like Grace Brethren.”
Simon Hall had four catches for 77 yards and a touchdown, and Bradley Schlom turned two of his three catches into touchdowns.
Tight end Mark Redman made five catches for 49 yards.
Friday marked the third time that Humphreys has surpassed the 200-yard receiving mark in a game this season.
“We put in a lot of work together, but if it wasn’t for our offensive line, that wouldn’t be there,” Humphreys said. “The connection wouldn’t be there. They give us plenty of time.”
The offensive line of Hunter Schimm, Vinny Provenza, Sean Owens, Tanner Tomlinson and Thomas Bouda allowed just two sacks of Garbers, despite the Sea Kings’ tendency to run a pass-heavy offense. But before CdM’s offense could get going, Camarillo’s Tyler Macasieb recovered a CdM fumble on the opening kickoff.
The Scorpions took advantage of the short field. James McNamara connected with Peter Dufau for an eight-yard touchdown to put Camarillo up 6-0 less than two minutes into the game.
We were there in 2016, didn’t finish the job. We’re here in 2018 again, and we look forward to the opportunity.
Dan O'Shea, Corona del Mar High coach
CdM wasted no time when it touched the ball, scoring touchdowns on five of six drives in the first half.
The Sea Kings utilized the 6-foot-5 Humphreys in all sorts of ways. On the opening drive, he caught two passes near the line of scrimmage, and he stiff-armed tacklers for gains of 30 and 48 yards.
Schlom scored on a shovel pass near the goal line, and the CdM offense had its answer.
Camarillo put together a good drive on its second possession, but the Sea Kings’ defense was stingy in the red zone, holding the Scorpions to a 22-yard field goal by Colton Schlimgen.
From there, the Sea Kings brought on a full aerial assault. Garbers lined up in an empty set throughout the first half, taking deep shots all over the field. Humphreys made a contested catch near the right pylon for a 39-yard score that gave CdM a 14-9 lead late in the first quarter.
Garbers went long to Hall and Schlom for touchdowns of 32 and 25 yards, respectively, in the second quarter. Garbers added a three-yard score on a power run behind the right side of his offensive line.
“The thing that is so neat about [Garbers] is that he is fearless throwing the football,” O’Shea said. “He knows that he has some weapons at his disposal, but he’s the one who knows where to go with the ball based on coverage.
“We were getting man coverage all night, and that was an advantage that we were going to take care of in this game. Being able to throw the ball down the field relentlessly is what we’re all about.”
CIF Southern Section Division 4 playoffs
Corona del Mar 49, Camarillo 17
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Corona del Mar 14 – 21 – 7 – 7 — 49
Camarillo 9 – 0 – 8 – 0 — 17
C – Dufau 8 pass from McNamara (kick failed), 10:22.
CdM – Schlom 3 pass from Garbers (Schroeder kick), 8:40.
C – Schlimgen 22 FG, 1:32.
CdM – Humphreys 39 pass from Garbers (Schroeder kick), :18.
CdM – Garbers 3 run (Schroeder kick), 7:27.
CdM – Hall 32 pass from Garbers (Schroeder kick), 6:21.
CdM – Schlom 25 pass from Garbers (Schroeder kick), 1:00.
CdM – Humphreys 11 pass from Garbers (Schroeder kick), 7:45.
C – Gravel 14 run (Valenzuela run), 3:03.
CdM – Humphreys 12 pass from Garbers (Schroeder kick), 11:29.