Daily Pilot Football Dream Team: Garbers a towering figure on the gridiron

(Scott Smeltzer / Daily Pilot)

Chase Garbers played his final football game with Corona del Mar High three weeks ago, and he said he still feels the effects from it. He said he suffered bruised ribs in the fourth quarter of the CIF Southern Section Division 4 final.

“It occurred on one run where I got swept head over heels, then I kind of landed on my neck and my ribs compressed,” Garbers said. “Just [taking] consecutive shots to the rib cage kind of added on to [the pain] during overtime.”

The outcome in that second overtime hurt Garbers more than his ribs. The result left the Cal-bound quarterback numb.

Garbers, the two-time Daily Pilot Football Dream Team Player of the Year, almost willed the Sea Kings to a section title.

After Garbers gave CdM its first lead in the game, coming on a two-yard touchdown run at the start of the second overtime, Chatsworth Sierra Canyon found the end zone, and then it decided to go for two and the win. The Trailblazers pulled it off to claim their second straight section championship.

Sierra Canyon converted the two-point run to edge CdM, 36-35, at Granada Hills High. On the field where John Elway played football in high school, Garbers fell short of producing an Elway-type comeback win.

Garbers gave the Sea Kings a chance, rallying them back from a 14-point deficit. When the heavy winds created problems on Garbers’ throws, he and the Sea Kings turned to the running game to get back in it. Garbers ran for 78 yards and three touchdowns, and running back J.T. Murphy ran for 240 yards and one touchdown.

There used to be a time during Garbers’ three years as a starter that whenever the Sea Kings got behind by double digits, the game was over for them. Garbers changed that notion in his last two games of his senior year.

The final year for Garbers at CdM (12-2, 5-0 in the Pacific Coast League) turned out to be a spectacular one. The Pacific Coast League MVP passed for 3,895 yards and 47 touchdowns, both CdM single-season records, despite not playing in the second half of almost half the games, while only throwing five interceptions. He also rushed 114 times for 582 yards and 11 touchdowns.

More impressive to Garbers than those gaudy numbers was how his team fought back in the semifinals and finals.

Without his second-half theatrics in the semifinals, there is no trip to the section finals for the Sea Kings. The day after Thanksgiving, they roared back from an 18-point deficit to beat Lompoc, 35-34, at Jim Scott Stadium, and the Sea Kings can thank Garbers.

Garbers found a way to turn things around after Lompoc appeared to figure him out, shutting down the 6-foot-3, 215-pounder in the first half. Through the first 24 minutes, Garbers only completed four of seven passes for 28 yards.

At halftime, with Lompoc ahead, 28-10, the Sea Kings looked for answers. They had been in this situation before in the postseason with Garbers as their quarterback. They trailed in the quarterfinals at Buena Park last year and in the quarterfinals at Trabuco Hills two years ago, and each time the Sea Kings failed to come back.

Garbers said this time it felt different. He looked at center Arwin Rahmatpanah, right guard Bryan Samudro and wide receiver TaeVeon Le, and they had the same response as Garbers.

“We’re not losing this game,” Garbers said they all agreed. “There’s no way we’re going to go out on our home field, in front of our crowd, and in the semifinals. This journey does not end here. We came out firing. We threw for [301] yards in the second half, put up [25] points, had a game-winning, [19-yard] touchdown [pass with 45 seconds left], and we had a freshman in John Humphreys who stepped up for us. His first varsity touchdown was the game-winning touchdown.

“Reese Perez had the game of his life with two big touchdown [catches] over the top [for 62 and 90 yards] … to start the comeback.”

Garbers ended Lompoc’s perfect season by throwing four touchdowns in the final two quarters. Those four scores also put Garbers in elite company, as he became the fourth quarterback in Orange County history to throw 90 touchdowns in a career.

Garbers threw one touchdown pass in the section final against Sierra Canyon, finishing his career with 91. The touchdowns are the second-best total in the county, nine behind the leader, Mater Dei’s J.T. Daniels.

Garbers’ career touchdown passes rank ninth all-time in the CIF Southern Section record book, and his 589 career completions are ninth in the section as well.

For his career, Garbers threw for 7,970 yards, the fourth-best total in the county. He completed 69% of his passes and only threw 10 interceptions.

During his time with the Sea Kings, Garbers also showed he was a threat with his legs. He finished with 1,290 yards and 27 touchdowns on the ground.

For running 19 times in the section championship game, Garbers’ ribs paid the price. The carries were the most by Garbers in a game, and to CdM Coach Dan O’Shea, they showed his quarterback’s desire to give his team a chance to win.

“Chase is more than just a great arm, he embodies everything a coach could ask for in a quarterback,” said Kevin Hettig, CdM’s offensive coordinator. “His numbers, as crazy as they are, don’t even do him justice. He had complete command of the offense and got us into the right call, or fixed a formation or personnel group multiple times a game.

“I honestly had a blast just watching him play every week, and the scary thing is, he is nowhere near his ceiling. [Cal] Coach [Sonny] Dykes and [offensive coordinator Jake] Spavital are getting themselves a heck of a player.”


Below are the rest of the members on this year’s Dream Team:

Coach of the Year

Dave White


White’s 31st and final season at the helm of his alma mater turned out to be memorable. He led the Chargers to a CIF Southern Section Division 3 title in a 44-24 win at La Mirada. White’s last game came a week before he turned 61 on Dec. 18, as Edison fell short of reaching the CIF State finale for the first time in the program’s history, losing to San Clemente, 39-35, in the CIF State Southern California Regional Division 1-A Bowl Game. Under White, Edison went 13-2 overall and 5-0 in the Sunset League this year. White finished with a 238-119-3 overall record, winning 13 Sunset League championships and two section championships. White ranks sixth for all-time wins in Orange County. White retired to spend more time with his family and to watch his son Garrett play football at Yale.

Tri-Offensive Players of the Year

Griffin O’Connor

QB | Edison | Jr.

O’Connor passed for 3,600 yards and 37 touchdowns, both Edison single-season records, while only throwing six interceptions. The 6-foot-3 junior earned the Sunset League MVP award for lifting the Chargers to their second straight undefeated league crown. O’Connor was a dual-threat quarterback in the postseason, helping Edison claim the CIF Southern Section Division 3 championship and advance to the CIF State Southern California Regional Division 1-A Bowl Game. In five playoff games, O’Connor threw for 1,288 yards and 11 touchdowns, with three interceptions, and rushed for 221 yards and eight touchdowns. For the year, he finished with 415 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground.

TaeVeon Le

WR | Corona del Mar | Jr.

Le became Corona del Mar’s single-season leader for receptions (78), receiving yards (1,294) and receiving touchdowns (22). The receiving yards this year by the junior ranked No. 1 in Orange County and the catches and touchdowns were both No. 2. At 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, the wide receiver created problems for defenses with his size, deceptive speed and jumping ability. Le was Chase Garbers’ top option, accounting for almost half of the Cal-bound quarterback’s 47 touchdown passes, during the Sea Kings’ run to the CIF Southern Section Division 4 championship game. Le, a first-team All-Pacific Coast League selection, will be one the area’s most sought-after recruits.

Cole Kinder

RB | Newport Harbor | Sr.

In 10 games for Newport Harbor, Kinder amassed 1,852 yards and 27 touchdowns on the ground, the third- and second-best totals in Orange County. The 6-foot 2, 210-pound senior running back was the Sunset League Offensive Player of the Year, producing 29 total touchdowns, two coming on kickoff returns. Kinder, who averaged 7.2 yards per carry, topped 300 rushing yards twice this year. He holds the Newport Harbor rushing records for a single game (327) and a career (4,041). During his career, Kinder ran for 40 touchdowns, returned three kickoffs for touchdowns and caught one touchdown pass, leaving him with 44 touchdowns, one shy of the school record.

Defensive Player of the Year

Kenny Carmichael

DE | Edison | Sr.

Carmichael created havoc with a relentless motor. The senior defensive end recorded 19.5 sacks, an Edison single-season record, and finished his two-year career with 29 sacks, becoming Edison’s all-time leader. Carmichael, the Sunset League Defensive Player of the Year, totaled 114 tackles and 19 passes defensed. In the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Division 3 playoffs, Carmichael had 12 tackles, three sacks and one interception in Edison’s 38-21 win against Buena Park. He averaged 10.2 tackles and 1.6 sacks per game in the postseason, leading Edison to the CIF Southern Section Division 3 crown and the CIF State Southern California Regional Division 1-A Bowl Game.

All-Purpose Player of the Year

E.J. Ginnis

WR-FS-PR | Edison | Sr.

Ginnis was a playmaker for Edison in all three phases of the game, on offense, defense and special teams. As a wide receiver, the senior finished with 54 receptions for 1,029 yards and 12 touchdowns. Ginnis, a free safety, garnered the Sunset League Defensive Back of the Year award, making 114 tackles and intercepting three passes. In the CIF State Southern California Regional Division 1-A Bowl Game, he returned a pass 101 yards for a touchdown to put Edison ahead late before it lost to San Clemente, 39-35. Ginnis averaged 14.2 yards per punt return, and he returned one 55 yards for a touchdown.

First-Team Offense

Steven Hernandez

QB | Los Amigos | Sr.

Hernandez beat defenses more with his legs than with his arm. The senior took over the quarterback duties for an injured Isaiah Potts and rushed 268 times for 1,906 yards, the second-best total in Orange County, and 20 touchdowns. He completed 35 of 77 passes for 414 yards and five touchdowns, with four interceptions. Hernandez shared the Garden Grove League Offensive MVP award.

Jack Carmichael

RB | Edison | Jr.

Carmichael bounced back from a shoulder injury that sidelined him for two games, and the junior finished with 165 carries for 1,088 yards and 12 touchdowns, and 27 catches for 331 yards and three touchdowns. The second-team All-Sunset League pick turned in his best effort in the CIF Southern Section Division 3 final, rushing 14 times for 181 yards and two touchdowns.

J.T. Murphy

RB | Corona del Mar | Jr.

Murphy elevated his play in the CIF Southern Section Division 4 playoffs, rushing 74 times for 603 and five touchdowns. His best game was a 240-yard performance in the finale against Chatsworth Sierra Canyon. The junior finished with 161 carries for 1,191 yards and 13 touchdowns, and 17 catches for 258 yards and three touchdowns. Murphy made the All-Pacific Coast League second team.

Shaun Colamonico

WR | Edison | Sr.

Colamonico started the first three games catching 20 passes for 446 yards and six touchdowns, but he suffered a hairline fracture of the fibula in the fourth game, sidelining him for four games. The senior returned and finished with a bang, leading the team in receptions (59), receiving yards (1,136) and receiving touchdowns (14). He is a first-team All-Sunset League pick.

David Atencio

WR | Edison | Jr.

Atencio recovered fast from an ACL surgery performed on his right knee in July, making his first appearance three months later in a Sunset League opener. In 10 games, the junior finished with 44 receptions for 704 yards and seven touchdowns, earning first-team All-Sunset League honors. During the playoffs, Atencio had 24 catches for 394 yards and three touchdowns, including three 100-yard games.

Billy Shaw

WR | Corona del Mar | Sr.

Shaw gave the Sea Kings another big threat. The 6-foot-3 senior could have topped 1,000 receiving yards, if not for missing the last three games with a fibula injury. He had seven catches for 175 yards and three touchdowns in a 41-13 rout of rival Newport Harbor. The first-team All-Pacific Coast League selection finished with 40 receptions for 697 yards and eight touchdowns.

Michael Saffell

OL | Edison | Sr.

Saffell anchored Edison’s run to the CIF Southern Section Division 3 championship and the CIF State Southern California Regional Division 1-A Bowl Game. The Cal-bound center was the Sunset League Offensive Lineman of the Year. Saffell, a 6-foot-3, 290-pounder, helped the offense average 266.8 passing yards and 138.1 rushing yards per game.

Arwin Rahmatpanah

OL | Corona del Mar | Sr.

Rahmatpanah paved the way for CdM to advance to the CIF Southern Section Division 4 championship game, the program’s fourth finals appearance since 2011. Rahmatpanah plans to join his quarterback, Chase Garbers, at Cal as a preferred walk-on player. The 5-foot-11, 260-pound center made the All-Pacific Coast League first team.

Bryan Samudro

OL | Corona del Mar | Sr.

Samudro is one of the strongest and best right guards in Orange County. The 5-foot-11, 265-pounder protected Chase Garbers, who passed for 3,895 yards and 47 touchdowns, both CdM single-season records. With Samudro, the Sea Kings averaged 43.6 points per game, 286.4 passing yards and 183.9 rushing yards per game.

Mike Jarboe

OL | Newport Harbor | Sr.

Jarboe played a vital role to running back Cole Kinder averaging 185.2 yards and 2.7 touchdowns on the ground per game. The 6-foot-3, 285-pound left tackle also protected the blindside of two inexperienced quarterbacks. Jarboe, who received first-team All-Sunset League laurels, helped the Sailors finish in third place in league.

Jake Arnold

OL | Marina | Sr.

Arnold, at 6-foot-5 and 315 pounds, was one of the biggest tackles in Orange County. The senior helped Marina beat Fountain Valley, 35-7, in the regular-season finale, ending its 60-game losing streak in the Sunset League. The first-team All-Sunset League member led the Vikings to four wins, their most since 2001.

Jack Morrell

PK | Edison | Jr.

Morrell, the Sunset League Kicker of the Year, converted nine of 13 field-goal attempts, the longest was a 42-yarder. During Edison’s CIF Southern Section Division 3 championship run, he made all three of his field-goal tries, one from 42 yards and two from 30 yards. Morrell made 63 of 65 extra-point kicks.

First-Team Defense

Derek Thomas

DL | Huntington Beach | Sr.

Thomas led the Oilers to the CIF Southern Section Division 7 playoffs, their first postseason appearance since 2013. He registered 15.5 sacks, 71 tackles (56 solo) and caused two fumbles, collecting first-team All-Sunset League honors. Thomas also ran for 126 yards in the Oilers’ 42-27 loss at Tustin in the first round.

Spencer Bazer

DL | Edison | Sr.

Bazer, an undersized defensive tackle at 5-foot-10 and 215 pounds, used his rugby background to take down whoever had the ball. He totaled 118 tackles and 7.5 sacks. The first-team All-Sunset League selection averaged 9.8 tackles per game during the playoffs. Against San Juan Hills, Bazer finished with 12 tackles and three sacks.

Bryce Clabaugh

DL | Corona del Mar | Sr.

Clabaugh was the Pacific Coast League Defensive MVP, coming up with 12.5 sacks, 18 tackles for loss, 75 tackles, one forced fumble and one blocked field goal. The defensive end played a big part in the Sea Kings’ only allowing 8.8 points per game during their undefeated Pacific Coast League campaign.

Teddy Barber

DL | Corona del Mar | Sr.

Barber always drew a double team and the 5-foot-8, 185-pounder still managed to produce 11.5 sacks, 20.5 tackles for loss and 57 tackles. The defensive end had 2.5 sacks in the Sea Kings’ 41-20 win against Murrieta Mesa in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division 4 playoffs.

Jonathan Moreida

LB | Edison | Sr.

Moreida was a tackling machine for the Chargers, amassing an area-best 160 tackles. The inside linebacker made 20 tackles in Edison’s 44-24 win at La Mirada in the CIF Southern Section Division 3 championship game. Moreida, who averaged 10.6 tackles per game, made the All-Sunset League first team.

Gage Roberson

LB | Newport Harbor | Sr.

Roberson contributed to the Sailors’ third-place showing in the always-tough Sunset League, as they prevailed in three of their final four games. The 6-foot-2, 207-pound middle linebacker was a big hitter, making 77 tackles, sacking the quarterback three times and intercepting two passes. Roberson was a first-team All-Sunset League member.

Mickey Quinn

LB | Corona del Mar | Sr.

Quinn led a stingy defense. After giving up 42 points in the season opener at Palos Verdes, CdM only allowed an average of 18.1 points per game the rest of the year. The middle linebacker earned first-team All-Pacific Coast League laurels, finishing with 98 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and two sacks.

Jaydin Moses

DB | Corona del Mar | Sr.

Moses, a strong safety, played his best in big games. He recorded 11 tackles in CdM’s one-point win over Ontario Colony in the CIF Southern Section Division 4 quarterfinals, and 12 tackles in a one-point loss to Sierra Canyon in the final. Moses, a first-team All-Pacific Coast League selection, had 81 tackles and one interception.

Nick Warren

DB | Edison | Sr.

Warren slowed down some of the best receivers. The first-team All-Sunset League cornerback produced 69 tackles, two interceptions, 14 passes defensed and two fumble recoveries, returning one 72 yards for a touchdown. Warren had 10 tackles and one interception against Newbury Park in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division 3 playoffs.

Cameron Kormos

DB | Corona del Mar | Sr.

Kormos was the Sea Kings’ top cover cornerback. He made the All-Pacific Coast League first team, totaling three interceptions, 22 passes defenses, 41 tackles and one forced fumble. Kormos also played wide receiver and returned punts, and against Northwood, he caught a touchdown pass and returned a punt for a touchdown.

McCade Barrett

DB | Edison | Jr.

Barrett began the year as a receiver, but when Shaun Colamonico went down in the fourth game, Edison moved him to cornerback. In his first start, he intercepted Mater Dei standout J.T. Daniels. The first-team All-Sunset League member had a 91-yard pick-six in the CIF Southern Section Division 3 final. He had 32 tackles.

Sean Nolan

P | Laguna Beach | So.

Nolan shared the Orange Coast League Special Teams MVP award. He averaged 38 yards per punt, and his longest punt traveled 59 yards. Nolan, who also stood out as a wide receiver, strong safety and kicker, contributed to Laguna Beach making the semifinals of the CIF Southern Section Division 13 playoffs.


Position, Name, School, Year

QB Joey Gutierrez, Brethren Christian, Sr.

RB Jordan Leonard, Brethren Christian, Sr.

RB Cooper Malerstein, Marina, Sr.

WR Noah Holmes, Marina, Sr.

WR Reese Perez, Corona del Mar, Sr.

WR Adam Armstrong, Laguna Beach, Jr.

OL Garrett Weichman, Edison, Sr.

OL John Lamas, Newport Harbor, Sr.

OL Scott Craig, Fountain Valley, Sr.

OL Tucker Knipp, Newport Harbor, Sr.

OL Denham King, Corona del Mar, Sr.

AP Tyler Ross, Estancia, Sr.

PK Andy Martinez, Estancia, Jr.


Position, Name, School, Year

DL Angel Hernandez, Fountain Valley, Sr.

DL Parker Thomas, Edison, Jr.

DL Payton Marlow, Huntington Beach, Sr.

DL Melvin Bowden, Edison, Sr.

LB Luke Hoggard, Edison, So.

LB Clyde Moore, Corona del Mar, Jr.

LB Roman Ayala, Costa Mesa, Sr.

DB Dylan Tucker, Corona del Mar, Sr.

DB Levi Hooper, Newport Harbor, Sr.

DB Bruce Knill, Laguna Beach, Sr.

DB Curtis Harrison, Laguna Beach, Jr.

P Rand Keidel, Marina, Sr.