CORONA DEL MAR
Only a bye week can stop juggernaut Corona del Mar High these days.
The Sea Kings enter the break after routing Capistrano Valley, 43-14, at Davidson Field last week, helping them close out nonleague play at 5-0.
CdM, ranked No. 1 in the CIF Southern Section Southern Division poll, has won 15 straight games dating back to last season.
Coach Scott Meyer hopes the week off helps the Sea Kings get healthy and ready for their Pacific Coast League title defense. Two of their starters, tailback Cole Martin (ankle) and left tackle Quinn Bassler (tonsils), missed last week's home game.
The Sea Kings open league play against Irvine at Davidson Field on Oct. 11. The Vaqueros are 4-0 and ranked No. 3 in the Southern Division.
Irvine wraps up nonleague play at Dana Hills (1-4) on Friday at 7 p.m., before its meeting against CdM.
•Parker Chase recovered a fumble, intercepted a pass and forced a fumble. The junior defensive end created all this havoc despite dealing with a cold all last week.
Each of the turnovers resulted in CdM touchdowns. Chase almost found the end zone on his 42-yard interception return, only to go down on the opponent's five-yard line.
"I kind of ran out of steam at the end," said Chase, who was tackled by the quarterback.
•The Sea Kings are ranked No. 2 in CalHiSports.com's CIF State Bowl Game Division III South rankings.
Monrovia, which played in last year's CIF State Southern California Regional Division III Bowl Game, losing to San Diego Madison, 21-17, is ranked ahead of CdM.
Madison went on to beat Kentfield Marin Catholic, 38-35, in the CIF State Division III final.
•The CdM offense averaged 34.2 points per game and the defense allowed 12.6 during the first five games.
•Anthony Battista made the most of his first start as the varsity running back.
The sophomore, filling in for the injured Martin, rushed 18 times for 153 yards and two touchdowns.
Martin had averaged 162.5 yards and almost two touchdowns per game.
Battista's longest run was a 41-yarder in the first quarter.
•The Sea Kings produced touchdowns on each of their first four drives against Capistrano Valley.
— David Carrillo Peñaloza
•After Newport Harbor scored on both of its first-quarter possessions to take a 14-0 lead in an eventual 34-13 nonleague win at San Clemente on Friday, the Sailors had only one offensive snap during the entire second quarter. And that was an intentional kneel-down to allow the final 12 seconds of the half to run off.
The unusual lack of offense in the quarter was produced by senior cornerback Quest Truxton returning an interception 60 yards for a touchdown on the 10th play of San Clemente's first second-quarter drive.
The Tritons then composed a 13-play, 65-yard touchdown drive on the ensuing possession to leave just 17 seconds before intermission.
The Sailors, however, reversed the trend in the scoreless third quarter, when they ran 22 offensive plays, while limiting the Tritons to a pair of three-and-outs.
•Newport Harbor junior quarterback Cole Norris, in his second season as a starter, has quickly developed a reputation as a potent passer. He seemed to be justifying that assessment in the opening quarter Friday, when he completed six of 11 pass attempts for 93 yards, including a 24-yard touchdown strike to Quest Truxton.
But from then on, the Sailors had just one completion for five yards as they held on to a 21-7 halftime lead that became 24-7 after Michael Schultz kicked a 24-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter.
Norris finished seven for 18 for 98 yards and the one touchdown pass.
•Newport Harbor held on in the second half, despite the absence of junior middle linebacker and tailback Riley Gaddis. Gaddis, who carried four times for 29 yards in the opening quarter in relief of starting tailback Chance Siemonsma, was helped off the field with an apparent right leg injury late in the second half. He was injured defending in the end zone on a one-yard touchdown pass that got San Clemente on the scoreboard and trimmed its deficit to 21-7.
— Barry Faulkner
•The Costa Mesa High football team seems to be getting healthy at just the perfect time, heading into Orange Coast League play.
The Mustangs (2-3) have a bye this week, giving them two full weeks to prepare for the league opener against rival Estancia on Oct. 11. Two players who came back in Friday's 21-19 win over Savanna at Glover Stadium were two of the team's best, senior tailback/linebacker Oronde Crenshaw (right foot/ankle) and senor receiver/linebacker Quinton Bell (hip flexor).
Coach Wally Grant said he also expects two-way lineman Corbin Pritchard to be ready for the Battle for the Bell game. Pritchard has not played yet this season, as he suffered a fractured tibia in the Mustangs' scrimmage.
Pritchard, who is 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, is a guard on offense and a defensive end.
"We're going to be at full strength, and that's going to be fun," Grant said. "When we roll into league, we're going to come in with some guys that people haven't seen on film, and we're going to look like a different team."
•Crenshaw looked good in his return, after missing two games. He rushed for 132 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries, before exiting the game early in the fourth quarter. Crenshaw, last year's Newport-Mesa Defensive Player of the Year, also returned to his linebacker position.
Crenshaw said after the game that he aggravated his right ankle injury, which was why he left with Costa Mesa hanging on to a 14-12 lead. But he expects to be fine going forward.
"He's fine, and Quinton's real close," Grant said.
•Grant also credited a trio of sophomores who have been playing well for Mesa. Sophomore linebacker Jonathan Brucales made at least two tackles for no gain or a loss, and sophomore Neru Fesili played well on the offensive line.
Sophomore Cameron Curet, while also playing on defense, provided a key special teams moment in the fourth quarter. After senior Jason Molina scored a rushing touchdown, the Mustangs were called for a personal foul on the ensuing point-after attempt. That made the PAT moved back to 35 yards, but Curet still drilled it right down the middle, giving Mesa a 21-12 advantage.
The nine-point lead was big, as Savanna scored on a rushing touchdown later in the fourth quarter. Had Curet missed the long extra point, the Rebels would have had a chance to tie the score with a two-point conversion, but instead they kicked the extra point to stay down two points. The 21-19 score ended up being the final score.
"I'm telling you, the sophomores are stepping up, and it's fun watching them," Grant said.
— Matt Szabo