NEWPORT BEACH — When it came to one-upmanship, there was more intrigue between the Corona del Mar High offense and defense than the Sea Kings and their opponent Friday night.
The Sea Kings’ offense came up with a steady dose of one-and-off to trump the hosts’ three-and-out defensive routine in a 43-7 rout of Westminster in a CIF Southern Section Southern Division first-round football playoff game.
The triumph, at Newport Harbor High, allows the No. 2-seeded Sea Kings (9-2) to advance to the quarterfinals. CdM will face Los Amigos (9-2) on Friday at Newport Harbor after the Lobos trounced Costa Mesa, 38-7, in its first-round battle.
There wasn’t much of a battle for the Sea Kings Friday.
They scored on all four first-quarter possessions and finalized the scoring with 5:52 left in the third quarter. Included among the offense’s surgical precision were three one-play scoring “drives.”
After CdM went 58 yards on just five plays to produce a touchdown after fielding the opening kickoff, Erik Fisher made short work of the Sea Kings’ second possession. The senior tailback bolted 45 yards up the middle for a touchdown on the first play after the Lions’ first punt.
A double-pass gadget play gave Westminster its lone score one play after taking possession for the second time, but a Grant Garrett 27-yard field goal and a 17-yard Fisher run one play after Cole Cottrell returned a punt 43 yards, allowed CdM to assume a 23-7 advantage with 1:31 left in the opening period.
CdM senior quarterback Brent Lawson ran 32 yards, at one point heading into and out of a would-be tackle, to put the Sea Kings up, 29-7 with 4:09 left before halftime.
The CdM offense needed only its first four plays after halftime to produce a pair of touchdowns, the latter coming on a 22-yard Kai Wilson run one snap after Aaron White returned a 17-yard punt 15 yards to just outside the Westminster red zone.
Fisher finished with 142 yards on 13 rushing attempts, all before halftime, as CdM collected 193 yards on the ground in the opening two periods.
Lawson, who completed nine of 18 for 113 yards and a pair of touchdowns, rushed twice for 51 yards. His passing numbers would have been significantly more impressive, had CdM receivers not dropped six of his strikes that resulted in incompletions.
Josh Giger caught five passes for 81 yards, including a flip near the line of scrimmage that he turned into a 29-yard touchdown catch-and-run early in the second half.
CdM’s defense allowed Westminster (4-7) to reach the red zone only once (the trick play on which tight end Myron Aiava lofted a strike to Edward Olivo after fielding a lateral pass in the flat with 7:01 left in the first quarter.
CdM senior cornerback Cole Cottrell made an over-the-shoulder interception at his own four-yard line with 50 seconds left in the first half to turn the Lions away after they had reached the CdM 26.
Junior defensive end Tim Reinhardt made three second-half sacks, forcing a fumble on the third that resulted in an 18-yard loss.
Senior reserve Alex Beyrooty also produced a sack late in the contest, as the 37-point lead invoked the mercy-rule stipulation that calls for a running clock in the fourth quarter.
CdM, in its 50th varsity season, improved its all-time postseason record to 22-22. The Sea Kings extended their winning streak in first-round playoff games to five.
Westminster, which managed just 17 rushing yards on 26 attempts, did move the chains at times through the air.
Senior quarterback Dominic Pendergrass was 15 of 27 for 238 yards and the aforementioned trick play helped the visitors net 192 aerial yards.
Westminster had won two straight to earn the Golden West League’s third-place berth, but were thoroughly stymied in all facets.
Even CdM’s special teams stood out. The Sea Kings had punt returns of 43, 35 and 15 yards and netted 43 yards on a kickoff return.
Additionally, Kyle Sherburne averaged 52.5 yards on his two punts for the Sea Kings.
Corona del Mar 43, Westminster 7
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Westminster 7 – 0 – 0 – 0 — 7
Corona del Mar 22 – 7 – 14 – 0 — 43
CdM – Johnstone 7 pass from Lawson (Garrett kick), 10:04.
CdM – Fisher 45 run (kick blocked), 7:14.
West – Olivo 54 pass from Aiava (Dodier kick), 7:01.
CdM – Garrett 27 FG, 3:42.
CdM – Fisher 17 run (kick failed), 1:31.
CdM – Lawson 32 run (Garrett kick), 4:09.
CdM – Giger 29 pass from Lawson (Garrett kick), 9:42.
CdM – Wilson 14 run (Garrett kick), 5:52.
West – Juarez, 9-18.
CdM – Fisher, 13-142, 2 TDs.
West – Pendergrass, 15-27-1, 138.
CdM – Lawson, 9-18-0, 113, 2 TDs.
CdM – Giger, 5-81, 1 TD.
West – Olivo, 3-91, 1 TD.