MISSION VIEJO — On, of all days, Friday the 13th, the Corona del Mar High football team extended its school-best winning streak to 13 games.
The Sea Kings cannot even lose on a day that's considered unlucky. They continued their impressive stretch that dates back to last season, edging El Toro, 24-21, at Trabuco Hills High.
The Sea Kings' winning streak was in jeopardy on the game's final play. They figured a way for it not to end because of a tie.
Before El Toro lined up to kick a 30-yard field-goal try to even the game, CdM Coach Scott Meyer told his players to let it all hang out. With six seconds left, they overloaded the left side and one player came off the edge untouched.
Nothing was going to stop Brett Greenlee from getting in the way of the ball. He dived and blocked Aaron Ball's field-goal attempt, keeping CdM's winning ways intact.
Two-time defending CIF Southern Section Southern Division champion CdM won yet again because it buckled down at the end. On the road, against a team that made the Pac-5 Division playoffs last year, the Sea Kings made a statement. They can play with the big boy schools, too.
And do they have another challenge come next week, when they play host to rival Newport Harbor at Orange Coast College. Before Meyer sent his players off to the bus, he delivered a message.
"We're crossing off Harbor this year," said Meyer, knowing that it has been seven years since CdM last defeated the Sailors in the Battle of the Bay game.
The Sea Kings (3-0), ranked No. 1 in the Southern Division, will savor the triumph.
Their offense performed well enough. Quarterback Luke Napolitano threw for 213 yards and one touchdown, and ran for a touchdown, wide receiver Cole Collins caught six balls for 134 yards and a touchdown, and tailback Cole Martin rushed 31 times for 100 yards and one touchdown.
But CdM still almost let it slip away because of mistakes. They turned the ball over four times, twice on fumbles, once on an interception and once on downs.
El Toro (1-2) capitalized on three of the turnovers, producing its three touchdowns off them. The Chargers were on their way to scoring a fourth touchdown after they converted a first down on fourth-and-22 on a hook-and-ladder play near the sideline.
The play put El Toro at midfield with 77 seconds to go. But what plagued the team all night came back to hurt the Chargers. They were flagged for a holding call, their 13th penalty.
Nevertheless, quarterback Trey Tinsley managed to get El Toro in field-goal range. He moved the chains on fourth down again, completing a 16-yard pass to receiver Taylor Dodds. A 14-yard hook-up with receiver Dominic Collins set the Chargers up on CdM's 13 with 17 seconds left.
After an incomplete pass, El Toro elected to go for the potential game-tying field goal. Each team called a timeout. But nothing was going to delay the inevitable.
Even on Friday the 13th, the Sea Kings prevailed.
"I guess No. 13 is our lucky number right now," Meyer said with a grin.
Corona del Mar 24, El Toro 21
SCORE BY QUARTERS
CdM 0 - 17 - 7 - 0 – 24
El Toro 7 - 7 - 0 - 7 – 21
ET – Dodds 28 pass from Tinsley (Ball kick), 6:01.
CdM – C. Collins 29 pass from Napolitano (Neiger kick), 9:14.
CdM – Martin 5 run (Neiger kick), 4:56.
ET – D. Collins 5 pass from Tinsley (Ball kick), :56.
CdM – Neiger 42 FG, :00.
CdM – Napolitano 1 run (Neiger kick), 2:39.
ET – D. Collins 5 pass from Tinsley (Ball kick), 3:34.
CdM - Martin, 31-100, 1 TD.
ET - Lane, 12-68.
CdM - Napolitano, 16-25-1, 213, 1 TD.
ET - Tinsley, 19-35-1, 230, 3 TDs.
CdM – C. Collins, 6-134, 1 TD.
ET – D. Collins, 8-85, 2 TDs.