The sign hanging on the railing at Cerritos College by the Oxnard Pacifica student section told the story of the Tritons’ football season. It read: “Mike Moon is best coach in the 805.”
Moon directed the Tritons (15-1) to a season never before experienced by a public school in Ventura County, capping it with a 34-6 victory over Oakland McClymonds on Saturday in the CIF state championship Division 2-A bowl game.
“What a great experience,” Moon said.
Oxnard Pacifica 34, McClymonds 6. 2-A champs. pic.twitter.com/25Q3oIPwfV— eric sondheimer (@latsondheimer) December 14, 2019
This was total domination from beginning to end. Quarterback RJ Maria passed for 185 yards and four touchdowns. Linebacker Caleb McCullough recorded three sacks and was in on 10 tackles. Linebacker Brad Bichard had three sacks and contributed on 14 tackles. Cornerback Kyrie Wilson had two of his team’s three interceptions. Kicker Scooter Carranza made field goals of 42 and 32 yards. The Tritons didn’t give up a point on defense (a fumbled snap in the fourth quarter led to McClymonds’ only score).
Pacifica’s Caleb McCullough with sack. pic.twitter.com/9o3RTrf52J— eric sondheimer (@latsondheimer) December 14, 2019
McClymonds came in with an 11-0 record and had the longest winning streak in the state at 22 consecutive victories including forfeits. But Pacifica had the quickness and size to match up with the Warriors, who could never find a way to run the ball against the Tritons. It was 17-0 at halftime. Wilson and Nohl Williams caught touchdown passes.
No stopping QB RJ Maria. pic.twitter.com/XrjGRXVwxw— eric sondheimer (@latsondheimer) December 14, 2019
Moon, in his seventh season as coach, even got to celebrate a personal moment when his son, Isaiah, a senior receiver, caught a 44-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter.
Moon’s big success was convincing Oxnard players like the Arizona State-bound McCullough to attend their neighborhood school. Many of the players grew up playing youth football together and ended up finishing their football days with a state championship they shared with a large contingent of supporters who made the 81-mile trip to Norwalk.
“It’s the best way to go out as a champion,” Isaiah Moon said.
His father said the key to this season was a loss to rival Oxnard.
“That set us on our way,” Moon said.
Corona del Mar 16-0. 1-A champs. pic.twitter.com/OdGa4Q9okp— eric sondheimer (@latsondheimer) December 15, 2019
Division 1-A: Safety Tommy Griffin of Corona del Mar had been sidelined because of mononucleosis. He was only able to play Saturday night against San Mateo Serra because the Chargers donated a flak jacket he could wear to protect him. The Sea Kings needed Griffin, because it was his interception in the end zone with two seconds left that preserved Corona del Mar’s 35-27 victory, completing a 16-0 season.
Quarterback Ethan Garbers rushed for 142 yards and one touchdown and completed 28 of 41 passes for 255 yards and four touchdowns. He finished with 71 touchdown passes this season, setting a Southern Section record.
Is it Lamar Jackson or Ethan Garbers? Garbers has 139 yards rushing in 12 carries. pic.twitter.com/pTFTA1YvaY— eric sondheimer (@latsondheimer) December 15, 2019
“It’s amazing,” Garbers said. “It’s been the best four years of my life. It’s unreal.”
Serra (13-2) came close to pulling off a remarkable comeback. Down 35-14 in the fourth quarter, backup quarterback Dominique Lampkin completed a 20-yard touchdown pass to Torence Loville with 3:43 left. Then the Padres recovered an onside kick and Lampkin connected on a 30-yard TD pass to Matt Rollandi with 2:46 left. He got the ball back with under two minutes left and drove Serra from the 13 to the Corona del Mar 20 until Griffin came through.
“I put my heels on the goal line,” Griffin said. “I love this team so much.”
Division 7-AA: San Francisco Lincoln received four rushing touchdowns from Luis Contreras to hold off Gardena 35-26 in San Francisco.
Division 5-AA: Davon Booth scored four touchdowns to lead El Monte (16-0) to a 32-7 win over Del Norte in Crescent City.
Division 4-AA: Ripon defeated Palmdale Highland 31-28 on a 36-yard field goal by Nathan Valdez.
Division 5-A: Milpitas defeated Reseda 34-0.