CdM takes total Cottrell

NEWPORT BEACH — The public-address announcer called Cole Cottrell's name all Friday night and with good reason.

Cottrell was all over the football field for Corona del Mar High. The junior flat out did it all in the season opener. He returned punts and kickoffs, caught passes, ran the ball, defended passes and made tackles.

Cottrell made sure the Sea Kings got off to a rousing start to the season after a miserable finish last year.

Cottrell caught two touchdown passes and set up three scores on punt returns as host CdM beat Savanna, 36-14, at Newport Harbor High.

The nonleague victory ended the Sea Kings' five-game losing skid dating back to last season. They now look like a dangerous team on offense.

With Cottrell on special teams, Clay Reinhardt running the ball and quarterback Mitch Gardner running the no-huddle offense, CdM should have no trouble putting up points as it did last season in the Pacific Coast League.

The offense excelled against Savanna, which many expect to win the Orange League for the second straight season. The Rebels found it hard to monitor Cottrell, who lined up at practically every position.

Cottrell played in the backfield and at wide receiver in the first half. Gardner hooked up with Cottrell twice for scores before halftime.

When the Sea Kings were not throwing the ball, they handed it to Reinhardt. The senior finished with 167 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries.

The defense and special-teams units helped the offense start with great field position.

The Rebels came out running the option with their big quarterback, Jeremiah Rideaux. They ran eight plays on the game's opening possession and moved past midfield before they faced a fourth-and-inches situation.

With a 5-foot-9, 212-pounder behind center, a first down seemed inevitable for the Rebels. The Sea Kings believed otherwise.

Defenders swarmed toward Rideaux, who tried to go right but a gang of tacklers met him and stopped him from getting the first down.

Two minutes later, the defense held Savanna again, forcing a punt.

Cottrell contributed to CdM's first touchdown by returning a punt 20 yards to the opponent's 30-yard line. Six plays later, the Sea Kings rewarded Cottrell for his return.

Lined up in the backfield, Cottrell went out for a pass. Gardner found him wide open in the flat for a two-yard touchdown pass, giving CdM a 6-0 lead late in the opening quarter.

The defense gave Cottrell another shot at a punt return after the Rebels' offense went three-and-out.

Cottrell's second return went further, 33 yards. Once again, he made it inside the Rebels' 30. It took CdM four plays to find the end zone.

From one yard out, Reinhardt punched it in to put the Sea Kings ahead, 12-0.

CdM continued to benefit from great field position because of its defense, which only allowed 184 yards of offense. The Sea Kings forced Savanna to go three-and-out for the third straight time. This time Cottrell did not have to return the punt because the ball traveled just 19 yards.

Rideaux put the Rebels on the scoreboard with 3:06 left to play in the first half. He marched the offense down the field in 10 plays, capping the drive with a four-yard touchdown run that cut the deficit to 12-7.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Rebels gambled. They tried an onside kick, only to see CdM's Stephen Ascher recover at midfield.

CdM took advantage of the excellent field position.

On the third play, Gardner saw Cottrell create separation from the defensive back. He then hit Cottrell for a 15-yard touchdown pass.

Fans heard from Cottrell again with 68 seconds left before halftime. He returned a punt 34 yards, leaving CdM inside the Rebels' 30 for the third time in the half.

The Sea Kings' lead increased to 22-7 after Andrew Boehm converted a 23-yard field goal as time expired in the first half. Down the stretch last season, CdM managed to score more than 22 points only once in a game.

The Sea Kings produced the total by halftime with the help of Cottrell.

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