At this point, Redondo Union High must be tired of seeing the Sea Kings.
Corona del Mar became the second Sea Kings football team to play Redondo Union in 19 days. The first was Palos Verdes’ Sea Kings, who are somewhat responsible for Redondo Union having to face CdM’s Sea Kings.
Palos Verdes defeated Redondo Union 10-3 in a Bay League game on Oct. 15. The loss marked the start of a three-game skid for Redondo Union, which finished fourth in the league and had to qualify for the CIF Southern Section Division 4 playoffs as an at-large team.
Redondo Union’s reward was a road game against CdM on Friday. For Redondo Union, these Sea Kings proved to be much tougher to keep up with on the field.
Top-seeded CdM opened the postseason with a 49-14 win over Redondo Union at Newport Harbor High.
The Sea Kings (9-1-1) advanced to the quarterfinals for the ninth consecutive season, and they will host Yorba Linda (9-2), the second-place team from the Crestview League, at Davidson Field on Nov. 9. The Mustangs defeated visiting Chino Hills 28-21 in the opening round on Friday.
The Sea Kings, who shared the Sunset League title, sacked Kaden Martin six times and intercepted him twice, extending their unbeaten streak to 10 games. They haven’t lost since suffering a 49-7 season-opening setback at JSerra.
And CdM, ranked No. 37 in the state by CalHiSports.com, doesn’t plan to lose again.
The Sea Kings saw John Humphreys back in action after he missed the final game of the regular season with a strained quadriceps muscle. In his return, all the junior wide receiver did was set a CdM single-season record and tie another one.
Humphreys has a school-best 1,352 receiving yards and his 22 receiving touchdowns put him at the top with TaeVeon Le. Humphreys reached the marks by catching six passes for 110 yards and a touchdown in the first half against Redondo Union.
Humphreys could’ve taken down another single-season record, he’s four receptions away from surpassing Le’s mark of 78, but the Sea Kings didn’t need him in the second half. With the game practically over at halftime, CdM leading 35-7, Humphreys rested on the sideline.
“It felt good to be back out here,” Humphreys said with a smile.
Humphreys is always in a good mood whenever he’s playing and whenever Ethan Garbers is throwing his way.
The offense rolled with Humphreys, who at 6-foot-5 drew constant double teams, opening things up for other targets. Garbers took advantage, throwing for 363 yards and five touchdowns, with one interception. The junior has passed for at least five touchdowns in three straight games.
In the latest outing, Garbers connected with 6-6 tight end Mark Redman on two touchdown passes, and he hit Bradley Schlom and Simon Hall for scores.
Schlom finished with seven receptions for 113 yards, while Redman had eight receptions for 85 yards. Hall had the longest touchdown catch of the night, a 37-yarder on a screen pass right before halftime.
The Sea Kings took Garbers out early in the fourth quarter. He’s closing in on the CdM single-season mark of 47 passing touchdowns, which his older brother, Chase Garbers, holds. Ethan has 43 touchdowns.
The younger Garbers was no stranger to Redondo Union (4-7). The Sea Hawks hosted CdM in their seven-on-seven passing tournament in Redondo Beach in July, and Garbers and his receivers stood out en route to winning the title.
“Just a coincidence that we ended up getting them in the playoffs,” said Redondo Union coach Matt Ballard, who knew that Humphreys and Redman would again create mismatches for his defense. “That’s going to be a hard offense for anyone to slow down.”
Balance is what CdM coach Dan O’Shea said the offense is striving for in the postseason. Jason Vicencio provided a ground game for the pass-happy Sea Kings in the first round.
The sophomore rushed 15 times for 97 yards and two touchdowns. Vicencio went into the game with one touchdown run.
“Jason ran the ball really well,” said O’Shea, adding that his team will have to run the ball to be successful in the postseason because not every game will be a blowout.
The goal for the Sea Kings is to make their fifth section finals appearance in eight years. They’re two victories away.
First, CdM has to get past Yorba Linda, a program with two 1,000-yard rushers in Keaton Haddad and James Festini. The quarterfinal round is where the Sea Kings’ season ended a year ago.
CIF Southern Section Division 4 playoffs
Corona del Mar 49, Redondo Union 14
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Redondo Union 0 – 7 – 7 – 0 — 14
Corona del Mar 21 – 14 – 7 – 7 — 49
CdM – Vicencio 1 run (Schroeder kick), 7:36.
CdM – Redman 6 pass from Garbers (Schroeder kick), 4:33.
CdM – Humphreys 4 pass from Garbers (Schroeder kick), 1:30.
CdM – Schlom 14 pass from Garbers (Schroeder kick), 9:02.
RU – Martin 2 run (Baker kick), 7:09.
CdM – Hall 37 pass from Garbers (Schroeder kick), :52.
RU – Dietrich 5 run (Baker kick), 8:03.
CdM – Redman 7 pass from Garbers (Schroeder kick), 3:45.
CdM – Vicencio 20 run (Schroeder kick), 11:44.
RU – Martin, 20-47, 1 TD.
CdM – Vicencio, 15-97, 2 TDs.
RU – Martin, 15-25-2, 183.
CdM – Garbers, 24-32-1, 363, 5 TDs.
RU – Wilson, 4-82.