NEWPORT BEACH — Corona del Mar High senior quarterback Brett Lawson said the Sea Kings' offensive coordinator compares exploiting a defense's weaknesses to a buffet line.
Lawson and the Sea Kings gorged on the Magnolia defense by scoring on their first six possessions, including five Lawson touchdown passes, on the way to a satiating 48-6 nonleague victory Friday at Newport Harbor High.
Lawson completed 11 of 16 passes for 222 yards and he had his five touchdown tosses before 17 minutes had elapsed.
Lawson connected twice with Josh Giger to put the Sea Kings (4-1), ranked No. 2 in the CIF Southern Section Southern Division, up, 14-0. He also found Chris Johnstone for a pair of scoring passes and hit Cole Cottrell for another score.
"[Offensive Coordinator Kevin Hettig] says it's kind of like a buffet line," Lawson said of his team's penchant for the pass against the Sentinels (0-4). "Just take what you can get."
The aerial feast, along with an Alex Moore touchdown run set up by a Greg Williford interception for the game's only turnover, helped the Sea Kings build a 41-0 lead with 5:38 left before halftime.
A flow of substitutes followed and by agreement of both coaches, the clock ran the entire second half as CdM rebounded from its lone loss, a 29-26 setback to rival Newport Harbor in the Battle of the Bay on Sept. 23.
CdM capped its preleague schedule with an exclamation point.
"Obviously we didn't want to lose to Harbor," said Lawson, whose scoring hookups were from 19, 34, 23, 24 and four yards. "The Harbor week is such an emotional week with preparation and investing so much into it. So, coming back from it, the motivation was to use the fire and all the emotion as fuel in the tank for this game. We just wanted to get back on track."
The Corona del Mar offense must have seemed like an oncoming train to Magnolia, as the Sea Kings initial six touchdown drives averaged three plays, 44.6 yards and just fewer than 66 seconds.
After driving 57 yards on six plays, then 80 yards on seven snaps, CdM became even more efficient. Its third scoring possession was 50 yards on three plays, followed by a two-play, 33-yard procession and a one-play, 34-yard mini-march.
After Magnolia averted the shutout with a 40-yard scoring pass from Waseem Akbar to Jerrad Wade on the first play of the fourth quarter, CdM used three plays to go 55 yards for the capping touchdown.
Giger finished with five catches for 117 yards and Johnstone totaled 38 yards on three receptions.
Troy Reese pitched in with 31 yards on two catches as Lawson used five different receivers, before watching the final 29:38 from the sideline.
CdM had 268 of its 318 yards of offense at intermission, as time allowed for only 10 offensive plays by the winners in the final two periods.
Magnolia, which managed just two first downs by halftime — one on a fake-punt run — had 55 total yards at the break and finished with 166 total yards. The Sentinels' deepest penetration before halftime was the CdM 36-yard line.
CdM's substitutes included freshman running backs Barrett Barbato, Hugh Crance and Cole Martin.
Martin broke one of his two carries for a 45-yard gain, while Crance's five-yard run produced his team's final touchdown.
Barbato turned one of his two carries into a 22-yard pickup.
"We got back on track with a win and we got a little momentum going into our bye week," said Coach Scott Meyer, whose first Pacific Coast League campaign with the defending league champions will begin Oct. 13 against Northwood at Irvine High.
"Everyone played, so, in that sense, it was a good night," Meyer said.
Senior outside linebacker Aaron White had both sacks for the Sea Kings, who limited seven of the Sentinels' nine first-half running plays to two of fewer yards, including five that were stopped at or behind the line of scrimmage.
Lawson now has 933 passing yards and 13 touchdown passes this season, while senior running back Erik Fisher concludes the preleague slate with 489 yards rushing.
Corona del Mar 48, Magnolia 6
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Magnolia 0 – 0 – 0 – 6 — 6
CdM 21 – 20 – 0 – 7 — 48
CdM – Giger 19 pass from Lawson (Napolitano kick), 9:58.
CdM – Giger 34 pass from Lawson (Napolitano kick), 4:29.
CdM – Cottrell 23 pass from Lawson (Napolitano kick), 0:43.
CdM – Johnstone 24 pass from Lawson (Napolitano kick), 10:16.
CdM – Johnstone 4 pass from Lawson (kick failed), 7:26.
CdM – Moore 14 run (Napolitano kick), 5:38.
Mag – Wade 40 pass from W. Akbar (kick failed), 11:45.
CdM – Crance 5 run (Napolitano kick), 8:38.
Mag – Zendejas, 14-57.
CdM – Martin, 2-45; Moore, 4-27, 1 TD; Fisher, 5-19.
Mag – W. Akbar, 7-17-1, 62 , 1 TD.
CdM – Lawson, 11-16-0, 222, 5 TDs.
Mag – Wade, 3-48, 1 TD.
CdM – Giger, 5-117, 2 TDs; Johnstone, 2-38, 2 TDs.