FULLERTON — A poorly lit football field was not going to diminish Corona del Mar High's undefeated start to the season.
The Sea Kings have opened the season at 3-0 for the third straight time under Coach Jason Hitchens after they beat host Troy, 27-7, at Fullerton High Thursday night.
Hitchens, in his third year with the Sea Kings, reminded his team to not look too far ahead.
"We've got a long journey," Hitchens said after the nonleague game.
The Sea Kings are hitting on all cylinders. The defense, special teams and running game are performing at a high level.
CdM has momentum heading into the Battle of the Bay next week against Newport Harbor. The Sea Kings have already upset a Sunset League team in Huntington Beach, another one will propel them to their first 4-0 start in 21 years.
"Extremely big and really anticipated," CdM running back Clay Reinhardt said of the upcoming rivalry game against the Sailors, ranked eighth in the CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division poll.
"We're looking to come out strong and hopefully come out with a W."
The Sea Kings must get off to a stronger beginning against Newport Harbor than the one it exhibited against Troy to have a chance to beat the Sailors for the first time in four years.
CdM, ranked No. 10 in the Southern Division, recorded just one first down in a scoreless opening quarter. The Sea Kings took a 10-7 lead at halftime, thanks to their defense forcing two fumbles in the first half.
Each turnover set up CdM scores.
The defense stuffed Troy, keeping the Warriors winless. The Warriors (0-2) were only able to move the chains for a first down once in the second half and CdM sacked quarterback Nathan Connolly four times in the game.
The third and fourth quarters belonged to CdM and its ground attack. It took Reinhardt some time to get going, but he topped 100 yards for the third time in as many starts this season.
Reinhardt gained 132 of his 138 yards rushing in the second half. He broke off touchdown runs of 33 and 32 yards, one coming late in the third quarter and the other late in the fourth.
Not a shabby evening for a senior expected to be a slot receiver before the season. Reinhardt ran the ball 17 times, and he has carried the bulk of the load in the backfield with Jeff Condino making his way back from a shoulder injury.
"They made me into a running back and I just kind of took off from there," said Reinhardt, who has rushed for 406 yards and four touchdowns this season, showing he is a legit back.
With Condino making his second straight appearance, Reinhardt and Condino give CdM a formidable one-two punch. Condino finished with 62 yards on 12 carries.
Troy tried to counter the Sea Kings' running game with Dallas Parent. He ripped one big run, a 46-yarder helping the Warriors tie the game at 7-7 in the second quarter.
After that run, the Sea Kings held Parent to 22 yards on 12 carries. Parent, who finished with 94 yards rushing and one touchdown, earned the Warriors' lone first down in the second half. It came with 5:03 left to play.
Defensive lineman Aaron Vasquez was not allowing Troy to move the chains again. The 6-foot, 200-pound senior sacked Connolly for a three-yard loss, forcing a punt. Brandon Giron was a busy guy for the Warriors. He punted eight times.
CdM's Andrew Boehm converted field-goal attempts from 40 and 27 yards, giving him five field goals in the last two games. The longest one came before time expired in the first half, with the help of Cole Cottrell.
The defensive back recovered a fumble on the Warriors' 23 with 28 seconds left, enough time for CdM to regain the lead. The Sea Kings went on to light up Troy for the third straight season.
Corona del Mar 27, Troy 7
SCORE BY QUARTERS
CdM 0 – 10 – 10 – 7 — 27
Troy 0 – 7 – 0 – 0 — 7
CdM – Gray 24 pass from Gardner (Boehm kick), 4:41.
T – Parent 1 run (Giron kick), 2:57.
CdM – Boehm 40 FG, 0:04.
CdM – Reinhardt 33 run (Boehm kick), 4:05.
CdM – Boehm 27 FG, 0:03.
CdM – Reinhardt 32 run (Boehm kick), 3:12.
CdM – Reinhardt, 17-138, 2 TD.
T – Parent, 21-94, 1 TD .
CdM – Gardner, 7-19-1, 89, 1 TD.
T – Connolly, 3-7-0, 14, 1 TD.
CdM – Gray, 3-46, 1 TD.
T – Meute, 1-6.