Corona del Mar High's 16th and final game of the year is on Saturday.
The Sea Kings reached the CIF State Division III Bowl Game by defeating Ojai Nordhoff, 24-8, in the CIF State Southern California Regional Division III Bowl Game Saturday night at Orange Coast College.
CdM (15-0) plays Atherton Sacred Heart Prep (13-1) in the CIF State Division III Bowl Game on Saturday at the StubHub Center in Carson at noon. Sacred Heart Prep advanced by stunning El Cerrito, 42-7, in the CIF State Northern California Regional Division III Bowl Game.
"The team likes to run the ball a lot," CdM Coach Scott Meyer said of Sacred Heart Prep, which runs a deceptive fly sweep offense. "This is going to be our biggest challenge."
The Sea Kings take a school-best 25-game winning streak into the contest. Only Concord De La Salle (15-0), which is in the CIF State Open Division Bowl Game against St. John Bosco (15-0) on Saturday at 8 p.m., has a longer current winning streak in the state than CdM. De La Salle has reeled off 40 consecutive victories.
If the Sea Kings can get past Sacred Heart Prep, they will become the first team from Orange County to finish a season with a 16-0 record and they will tie the county's sixth-longest winning streak at 26.
•The CIF State Division III Bowl Game will have a family connection.
CdM wide receiver Bo St. Geme's uncle, Matthew Moran, is an assistant coach at Sacred Heart Prep. Moran, who is married to St. Geme's aunt, Ellen, played football at Stanford with St. Geme's father, Edmond, from 1981-84.
St. Geme said Moran and Ellen met during the wedding of St. Geme's parents.
On facing his uncle's high school team, St. Geme said, "It should be fun playing against him."
St. Geme is coming off his best game of his two-year varsity career in terms of receptions (nine) and yards (117). The junior also caught a 37-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Luke Napolitano midway through the third quarter, giving CdM a 17-0 lead.
•With CdM's longest and most successful season in school history, three CdM players have been able get their names in the school's record book when it comes to single-season performances.
Napolitano, a senior, is the passing yards (2,572) and completions (190) leader, junior tailback Cole Martin is the rushing yards (1,718), rushing touchdowns (21) and total points (126) leader, and junior receiver Cole Collins is the receptions (59) and receiving yards (995) leader.
The three have one more game to add to their record-breaking totals.
Another Sea King pursuing a CdM single-season record is Parker Chase, a junior defensive end. He has 16 sacks, two shy of the record set by set by Sky Conway in 1995.
•The 24 points CdM scored in the CIF State Southern California Regional Division III Bowl Game is the second-lowest total in 13 postseason appearances under Meyer.
Nordhoff (13-2), the two-time defending CIF Southern Section Northwest Division champion, went into Saturday allowing only 11 points per game.
"Nordhoff was a really good and physical team," said Meyer, whose team produced the most points any team has had on Nordhoff this year. "Nordhoff was probably one of the best defenses we've faced."
The Sea Kings' defense is stingy as well.
The first three times Nordhoff reached the red zone, the Rangers came away with zero points.
Two of those CdM stops came in the second quarter. Safety Charlie Griffin, the lone senior starter on defense, picked off a tipped pass on the Sea Kings' 17 with 7:59 left in the first half.
With Nordhoff on CdM's 13 with 2 seconds left before halftime, the Rangers tried a 37-yard field goal and missed it.
On Nordhoff's second possession in the third quarter, the offense moved to CdM's 10-yard line, before junior defensive end Harrison Carter and Chase combined to sack quarterback Tanner Workman and force him to fumble.
Justin Hess, a junior lineman, picked up the ball for CdM, which came away with three turnovers. The Sea Kings intercepted Woodcock twice, the first in the opening quarter, when defensive back Matt Deverian returned a pick 46 yards for a touchdown.
The Sea Kings also stopped Nordhoff on downs four minutes into the second half. Chase and junior outside linebacker Robby Hoffman stuffed a run for a two-yard loss on CdM's 46.
•CdM and Sacred Heart Prep won their respective CIF section titles, the Sea Kings in the Southern Section Southern Division and the Gators in Central Coast Section Division IV.
The Sea Kings have claimed three straight crowns and the Gators two in a row.
— David Carrillo Peñaloza