High School Football: CdM's final challenge

Corona del Mar High's perfect run began one week after a scrimmage got out of control four months ago.

The Sea Kings wound up on the other end of illegal shots, as well as shoves long after the whistle blew. Then their coach, Scott Meyer, blew up.

"I kind of lost my cool a little bit there," Meyer said with a grin, remembering how the opposing coaches celebrated with their players on the field after every defensive play. "I don't know why. It was so early in the season."

The scrimmage against Fountain Valley turned out to be more of a circus to Meyer. He can laugh about it now, because in Orange County the only football show left is the one put on by CdM.

The Sea Kings can cap a historic season on the road by winning the CIF State Division III Bowl Game on Saturday at noon at the StubHub Center in Carson. They enter the contest against Atherton Sacred Heart Prep (13-1) with a perfect record.

One more victory and CdM will be the first county team to go 16-0.

There are many factors as to why the Sea Kings are in the position they are in. They have a balanced offensive attack, which averages 216 yards on the ground and 178.5 yards through the air per game. They have come away with 30 turnovers on defense. They play well on special teams, having blocked three punts and three field goals.

Nevertheless, Meyer believes that that scrimmage on Aug. 23 affected the Sea Kings in a positive way. At the time, they fumed about the helmet-to-helmet hits, the antics on the field by Fountain Valley's coaches.

The Barons got the best of the Sea Kings and Meyer that evening. Afterward, an upset Meyer lashed out, saying the Barons acted as if they had just won the Super Bowl.

The Sea Kings are the ones who wound up playing an NFL-type schedule.

They are still competing because the Barons challenged the Sea Kings a week before their season opener. The Sea Kings needed it and they responded with an unprecedented season in which they have piled up titles, claiming the Pacific Coast League for the second straight year, the CIF Southern Section Southern Division for the third straight year, and the CIF State Southern California Regional Division III Bowl Game for the first time.

The next championship CdM can add to its trophy case is the ultimate one, coming in the CIF State Division III Bowl Game. Closing out the year with its first state football title will prove difficult for CdM.

The Sea Kings are up against an Atherton Sacred Heart Prep program that not only stunned a more talented and athletic team in El Cerrito in the CIF State Northern California Regional Division III Bowl Game last week, but it won in a 42-7 rout. The Gators knocked out El Cerrito's starting quarterback and backup quarterback, punching their ticket to Carson.

Sacred Heart Prep has plans after its game against CdM. Bo St. Geme, a CdM wide receiver, said the Gators are going to Disneyland afterward. And St. Geme would know this info since his uncle, Matthew Moran, is an assistant coach at Sacred Heart Prep.

Moran is second in command to Coach Pete Lavorato, who's most famous for teaching Jim Harbaugh the deceptive fly offense when Harbaugh coached at Stanford, and then again, when Harbaugh became the San Francisco 49ers coach. The fly offense gives Sacred Heart Prep an edge because not many high school teams run it.

The offense works because it gives whoever gets the handoff a head start. Before the snap, a receiver goes in motion, running at full speed before the quarterback hands the ball off to the player. The offense poses problems for defenses because defensive players are usually standing still before the snap.

No offense has really given CdM, which allows 9.3 points per game, fits this year. Linebackers (Hoyt Crance, Robby Hoffman and Hugh Crance) play the run and pass effectively. Defensive ends Parker Chase and Harrison Carter harass the quarterback, while the secondary, with safeties Charlie Griffin and Barrett Barbato, and cornerbacks Brett Greenlee and Chad Redfearn, is strong in coverage.

The most points CdM's defense has allowed are 21, coming in three games. The tightest of the three was a 24-21 win against El Toro in a nonleague road game. A blocked field goal at the end by Greenlee saved CdM from a tie. That is the only time CdM has come close to not winning this year.

Since last season, the Sea Kings have ripped off 25 wins in a row. The current stretch is the longest in the state, behind Concord De La Salle's 40-game streak. The key to extending CdM's winning streak to 26 and tying the county's sixth longest is slowing down Sacred Heart Prep's ground attack.

The Gators, who have won two straight CIF Central Coast Section Division IV titles, average 280.6 rushing yards per game. Andrew Segre leads the Gators with 1,444 yards and 20 touchdowns, but last week, a linebacker led the way. Ben Burr-Kirven rushed 15 times for 163 yards and four touchdowns.

The Gators look to sustain long drives and chew time off the clock to keep CdM's offense on the sideline. The offensive possessions might be limited for CdM. Quarterback Luke Napolitano, who has thrown for 2,572 yards and 23 touchdowns, with nine interceptions, will have to make the most of the Sea Kings' chances. He has weapons in tailbacks Cole Martin (1,718 yards and 21 touchdowns) and Anthony Battista (984 yards and 10 touchdowns), and receivers Cole Collins (59 catches for 995 yards and eight touchdowns) and St. Geme (58 catches for 733 yards and seven touchdowns).

"They play really safe," St. Geme said of the Gators' defense, which gives up 8.8 points per game. "Our coaches were telling us [Tuesday] they have, like, the motto of bending but not breaking."

There was a time before the start of the season the Sea Kings could've cracked, but they just grew stronger from that heated scrimmage in August. The Sea Kings are now one win away from completing a flawless season.

The Big Game

Who: Corona del Mar (15-0) vs. Atherton Sacred Heart Prep (13-1)

What: CIF State Football Championship Division III Bowl Game

Where: StubHub Center, Carson

When: Saturday, noon

Info: Tickets for the 2013 CIF State Football Championship Bowl Games Presented by Farmers are available at CdM or at The StubHub Center Box Office or http://www.stubhubcenter.com/events/detail/2013-cif-football-championships. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for high school students (with a valid ASB card), seniors (65+) and children. All tickets are for general admission seating and are valid for all bowl games on a single day. Game can be viewed live on Time Warner Channel SportsNet and http://www.twcsports.net.com.

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World