Film study almost like a family holiday for Corona del Mar’s Ethan Garbers

Corona del Mar's Ethan Garbers drops back to pass against Palos Verdes.
Corona del Mar’s Ethan Garbers drops back to pass against Palos Verdes on Sept. 6.
(Tim Berger / Daily Pilot)

Thanksgiving is about football and family.

Unfortunately, for the Garbers brothers, football is what kept them from being together this year on the holiday. Chase, who is California’s starting quarterback, is with the Golden Bears preparing for the team’s regular-season finale at UCLA while younger brother Ethan has his own matchup this weekend. He leads Corona del Mar High against Simi Valley Grace Brethren in the CIF Southern Section Division 3 championship game Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Newport Harbor High.

It will keep them from getting an extra film session in together because family time equals film study time for the Garbers brothers.

“Throwing the football around or watching film. That’s kind of how we spend time together,” Ethan said. “Whenever he comes home, we always turn on some film and and watch how college defenses work because college and high school defenses are very different. He kind of teaches me all the new things and shows me what I should be looking for and all that. He’s extremely helpful and he’s a great resource to have and I’m grateful for him.”


Chase’s tutelage began during his junior season at Corona del Mar when Ethan was in eighth grade. Ethan was curious about the Sea Kings’ impending opponents, so he would watch as Chase studied the defense he was about to go against.

A look at the high school football championship game matchups Friday and Saturday in the Southern Section and City Section.

“He would turn it on. We just watched together and have fun,” Ethan said, before admitting, “When I started, I didn’t really like it that much. But now I love watching film. I turn it on for like three hours and just sit in my bed and watch it. It’s fun now. He taught me a different way how to look at it and not to just watch it, but to actually study it and how to do that.

“You don’t just look at one thing. You have to look at many different things. You have to look at what the offense is doing, how the defense lines up in different formations, all that and what they’re doing on the snap. Some defenses, they change what we’re doing on every snap. I mean, if you really study and really know what you’re looking at then it makes the game 10 times easier.”


Ethan is a code breaker before the ball is snapped as he works to decipher what the opposition is doing. If he sees a snippet he has seen while watching film, he looks to exploit it. It has come in handy for the four-star quarterback prospect this season as he has set several school records, including throwing for eight touchdowns and 491 yards in the Sea Kings’ season opener. For the year, Ethan has 4,342 yards passing yards with 62 touchdowns and only five interceptions in 13 games.

He has a dynamic collection of pass catchers, including John Humphreys (committed to Stanford) and four-star tight end Mark Redman. Garbers will continue to have Redman as a target for the next four years as both are committed to play at Washington.

Corona del Mar High quarterback Ethan Garbers will be playing for a CIF-Southern Section Division 3 title on Friday.
(Don Leach / Daily Pilot)

“Having one of my best friends coming up there with me is amazing ‘cause I can be close to someone and we’re both going at the same time. So it’s going to be fun,” Ethan said. “When I went up to Seattle, I just fell in love with the area, and I had family that lives up there. That’s another plus. Plus what the coaches have been able to do and how successful they’ve been is really good. My goal is to be best player I can be and win a national title and I think I can do that at Washington.”


Garbers had scholarship offers from schools around the country before choosing to become a Husky. Like a film session, he had to break down and analyze each of the opportunities to find the best fit. Fortunately, he was again able to lean on big brother.

Chase had gone through the recruiting process and was able to share his experience while giving him tips and pointers on what to ask, what to look for and what to take away from his visits and interactions with coaches.

“He’s always texting me like, ‘Hey if you need to talk, I’m always here,’ “ Ethan said. “I’m truly grateful for him and watching him go through it has been really good in helping me.”