High School Football: CdM chases ring

Five months ago, Corona del Mar High Coach Scott Meyer ran into Garden Grove Coach Willy Puga at a passing tournament. They exchanged hellos and talked for a minute.

Before they went their separate ways, Puga scheduled a meeting with Meyer for December.

"I expect to see you guys in the finals again," Meyer said Puga told him.

That time has come as the Sea Kings square off against the Argonauts in the CIF Southern Section Southern Division finale for the second straight season.

Top-seeded CdM and No. 2 Garden Grove enter Friday night's matchup at Orange Coast College at 7 with identical 13-0 records. One team will stay at the unlucky number.

The Sea Kings are looking to claim a third straight Southern Division crown. They and the Argonauts are not only playing for a section title, but also a berth into the CIF State Southern California Regional Division III Bowl Game, the play-in contest for the CIF State Division III Bowl Game.

"I think we all know the opportunity if we win that we get to represent in the state, but we're not talking about it much," said Meyer, whose Sea Kings are ranked No. 1 in the CalHiSports.com CIF State Bowl Game Division III South poll and the Argonauts are No. 2. "Garden Grove definitely has our attention. We've got to play really well to get the win Friday and then we'll worry about any state game."

Meyer expects the second act against Garden Grove to be closer than last year's championship. The Sea Kings ran away with it, winning 35-10 to go back-to-back for the second time in the program's history.

They can make school history with a three-peat. The Sea Kings don't use "Three-peat" much, preferring to use "Chase the ring" whenever they end practices.

The saying works as CdM is motivated to finish on top, despite playing a 14-game schedule for the third year in a row. No one has challenged CdM this postseason. The Sea Kings have outscored their three opponents, 123-17.

The section title run by CdM is similar to the past two in which it has dominated. The only time CdM has come close to losing was in the section finale against Beckman in 2011, when the Sea Kings stuffed a two-point conversion run in the waning seconds to hold on for a 14-13 victory at OCC.

The Sea Kings return to the same stadium for a chance at another championship. Something about playing at OCC sticks out to Meyer. Maybe it's because Meyer's first title came in his inaugural season with the Sea Kings. The second title came at a different venue, Angel Stadium.

"That was a great experience," Meyer said of coaching at Angel Stadium, "but OCC is a great football stadium as well. I'm sure Garden Grove will fill [its] side and our side will be full as well, so it will be a pretty good high school football atmosphere, probably reminiscent of the Battle of the Bay crowd we had earlier in the year."

When OCC sells out, as it did when 7,600 fans came to watch CdM and Newport Harbor in the annual rivalry game, it can be loud.

Garden Grove is familiar with the stadium. The Argonauts are in the Southern Division final for fourth time in the last five years. This marks their third finals appearance at OCC during the stretch.

Puga brings back several key players from last year, including quarterback Angel Martinez and running back Sionne Masoe. The two didn't do much against CdM the first time, Martinez threw for 173 yards and was picked off three times, including a pick-six 12 seconds into the game, while Masoe was held to 10 yards on six carries.

Martinez and Masoe enter this year's matchup with impressive numbers. Martinez has passed for 2,003 and 29 touchdowns, with only four interceptions, and Masoe has rushed for 1,455 yards and 29 touchdowns. The two seniors are big reasons why Garden Grove is averaging 47.3 points per game.

Defensively, CdM has been stout throughout the year, shutting out four teams. This side of the ball features junior linebackers Hoyt Crance (77 tackles) and Robbie Hoffman (65 tackles) and junior defensive ends Parker Chase (73 tackles) and Harrison Carter (10 sacks), along with senior Charlie Griffin and junior Barrett Barbato in the secondary. The defense has blanked four playoff opponents in two years.

The Sea Kings continue to put up numbers on offense, averaging 35 points per game. They are led by senior quarterback Luke Napolitano, who has thrown for 2,312 yards and 21 touchdowns, with eight interceptions. He hasn't thrown an interception in the postseason. His top targets are junior wide receivers Cole Collins (54 catches for 927 yards and eight touchdowns) and Bo St. Geme (46 catches for 579 yards and five touchdowns).

On the line is the Sea Kings' 23-game winning streak, which dates back to last year. They can add to it with a third straight Southern Division title.

"Either us or Garden Grove will possibly have the opportunity to play a 16-game, NFL-type season," Meyer said with a smile. "I think Garden Grove has additional motivation. [The Argonauts] know that they're a real good team and [they have] kind of been calling us out all year long."

Corona del Mar (13-0)


35...Laguna Hills...14

24...El Toro...21

34...Newport Harbor...14

43...Capistrano Valley...14







42...ˆLos Amigos...0


(*denotes Pacific Coast League game; ˆdenotes CIF playoff game)

Garden Grove (13-0)






69…*Bolsa Grande…0

56…*La Quinta…0

49…*Los Amigos…0


70…*Rancho Alamitos…24




(*denotes Garden Grove League game; ˆdenotes CIF playoff game)

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