School ends next week at Corona del Mar High. The school's football season isn't quite over just yet.
The Sea Kings' historic season continues into the holiday break. And they are one win away from giving themselves another gift in the form of a championship.
As if CdM hasn't won enough. The school extended its season one more week and the next game is the final one.
The Sea Kings are in the CIF State Division III Bowl Game after they beat Ojai Nordhoff, 24-8, in the CIF State Southern California Regional Division III Bowl Game at Orange Coast College on Saturday night.
Corona del Mar's perfect season is at 15 triumphs and counting. Next for the school is a date against Atherton Sacred Heart Prep (13-1) on Dec. 21 at the StubHub Center in Carson at noon. Sacred Heart Prep defeated El Cerrito, 42-7, in the Northern California Regional final.
The Sea Kings, making their first state appearance, easily got past Nordhoff (13-2) with strong play on special teams and a stifling defense that came away with three turnovers.
Corona del Mar, coming off its third straight CIF Southern Section Southern Division title, has reeled off a school-best 25 straight wins. The latest came against Nordhoff, the two-time defending Northwest Division champion.
Coach Scott Meyer wanted a fast start and he got one from his Sea Kings.
In the first half, CdM junior Robby Hoffman blocked two punts and defensive backs Matt Deverian and Charlie Griffin each intercepted a pass. The first of Hoffman's blocks led to Jason Neiger's 32-yard field goal with 4:39 left in the first quarter.
Almost 2 minutes later, Deverian picked off a pass near the CdM sideline and returned it 46 yards for a touchdown. Just like that, CdM jumped out to a 10-0 first-quarter lead.
Griffin helped CdM pitch a first-half shutout by intercepting a tipped pass inside the Sea Kings' 20-yard line in the second quarter. The mistake turned out to be one of three times Nordhoff failed to produce any points in the red zone.
The second time the Rangers came away with zero points was when they missed a 37-yard field goal as time expired in the first half.
Four minutes into the second half, CdM's defense made another stand. Hoffman, playing outside linebacker, and junior defensive end Parker Chase tackled Nordhoff running back Matt Woodcock for a two-yard loss on a fourth-and-one run near midfield.
The Sea Kings capitalized on the turnover on downs. It took five plays for them to take a 17-0 lead midway through the third quarter. Quarterback Luke Napolitano, who completed 14 of 25 passes for 151 yards, hooked up with wide receiver Bo St. Geme on a 37-yard touchdown pass.
St. Geme, a junior, finished with nine catches for 115 yards. The season has gone on so long, 18 weeks, that St. Geme missed his CdM basketball team's game in the finals of its own tournament on Saturday.
St. Geme played in a much bigger final with his football team.
The historic season has seen three Sea Kings put up single-season school records. Players like Napolitano, who owns the passing yards (2,566) and completions (191) marks, tailback Cole Martin, the rushing yards (1,717) and rushing touchdowns (21) leader, and receiver Cole Collins, the receptions (60) and receiving yards (992) leader, would trade all those marks for one number, No. 16.
Capping the magical season with 16 wins is how the Sea Kings plan to go out, an early holiday gift for themselves. If CdM can pull it off, it will become the first Orange County football team to finish a season at 16-0.
CIF State Southern California Regional Division III Bowl Game
Corona del Mar 24, Nordhoff 8
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Nordhoff 0 – 0 – 0 – 8 – 8
CdM 10 – 0 – 7 – 7 – 24
CdM – Neiger 32 FG, 4:39.
CdM – Deverian 46 interception return (Neiger kick), 2:51.
CdM – St. Geme 37 pass from Napolitano (Neiger kick), 6:37.
CdM – Napolitano 11 run (Neiger kick), 3:50.
Nor – Wolcott 3 pass from Workman (Woodcock pass from Wolcott), 2:10.
Nor – Woodcock, 15-50; Livingston, 6-13; Wadsworth, 2-4; Workman,7-1.
CdM – Martin, 19-82; Battista, 13-35; Napolitano, 10-23, 1 TD.
Nor – Workman, 24-45-2, 306, 1 TD.
CdM – Napolitano, 14-25-0, 151, 1 TD.
Nor – Boyd, 11-159; Wadsworth, 4-58; Woodcock, 2-31; Wolcott, 4-27, 1 TD; Brown, 2-18; Livingston, 1-13.
CdM – St. Geme, 9-115, 1 TD; Collins, 4-31; Brahs, 1-5.