High School Football: CdM top seed in Southern Division

There were many uplifting events during a momentous 10-0 regular season for the Corona del Mar High football team. But perhaps the Sea Kings' biggest moment/win came Week 4 when CdM upended its rival Newport Harbor.

The Sea Kings had lost six straight to the Sailors, but put an end to Newport Harbor's supremacy with a convincing 34-14 win Sept. 20.

"That was a huge win for our players," CdM Coach Scott Meyer said. "I think it just really let our guys know that we can play with anybody. For us to get over that hump it reinforced to our guys that if they come to play they can play with anybody. That win was a huge accomplishment."

The Sea Kings want more accomplishments.

As expected, CdM came away with the No. 1 seed in the CIF Southern Section Southern Division playoffs, when the pairings were released Sunday.

CdM is one of five Newport-Mesa area teams that will compete in the playoffs, which begin Friday. The Sea Kings open against Loara (6-4), an at-large team from the Golden West League, at Davidson Field.

They had that great win over Newport Harbor. Now they want at least four more wins to capture their third straight Southern Division championship, an unprecedented feat.

They have already achieved a first in program history, as they became the first team to go undefeated during the regular season.

CdM, which has the won the past two Pacific Coast League titles, is also on a school-record 20-game winning streak.

"We're pretty happy with the way we're playing overall," Meyer said. "Northwood came out on fire [Friday night]. Our guys never panicked and just went to work to get one over them. It helps to get a close one like that, [a 35-21 victory]."

The win provided more confidence for the Sea Kings, who have earned great success on the lower levels as well. The junior varsity and freshmen teams also completed 10-0 runs in the regular season.

Meyer said it helps that the JV players practice with the varsity team. JV head coach Aaron Huerta is also a varsity assistant, working with the varsity defensive backs. Kyle Collins is the JV offensive coordinator and one of two offensive line coaches for the varsity team.

Peter Bush and Stephen Von Der Ahe play at quarterback for the JV team, while Bush also serves as the backup to Luke Napolitano on the varsity.

The freshman team is led by head coach Jerry Jelnick and assistant John Griffin, who has been very instrumental in the squad's success. Chase Garbers runs the offense as the freshman quarterback.

Griffin's son, Charlie, is a senior safety for the CdM varsity team.

"We feel like things are going well, a really positive vibe on all three levels," Meyer said. There is really good program chemistry. Our seniors have done a good job leading. We'll have 10 freshmen up for the playoffs. Right now everything is going real well."

Meyer said CdM received strong competition during the PCL season and that has prepared the Sea Kings for the playoffs, especially as the top seed.

"I don't think there's any added pressure [of being the top seed]," Meyer said. "Our guys have a good understanding. It's win or go home. Rankings or standings, they really don't matter. We need to show up and be ready to go."

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