Corona del Mar defeated Garden Grove, 35-10, to claim its second consecutive CIF-SS Southern Division championship on Saturday afternoon in front of 6,870 at Angel Stadium.
That’s two championships in two seasons for Coach Scott Meyer. Talk about setting the bar high. That also makes the Sea Kings 4-0 in championship games. They also won back-to-back Division VI titles in 1988 and 1989.
Garden Grove was making its third trip to the finals in the past four seasons. Coach Willy Puga and the Argos will be back.
CdM set the tone from the first play from scrimmage when LB Alexander Moore intercepted Grove QB Angel Martinez and returned it 30 yards for a TD. Just 12 seconds into the game and Grove was trailing the top-seeded Sea Kings, 7-0.
Barrett Barbato and Brett Greenlee also had interceptions for CdM. Barbato ended up with a team-high eight tackles. DE Tim Reinhardt had two tackles for loss, including one where he tossed Grove RB Sionne Masoe out of the end zone for a safety.
CdM’s defense had pitched three consecutive shutouts heading into the finals. Grove snapped that streak when Gabe Carillo kicked a 24-yard field goal with 6:18 left in the first half to cut CdM’s lead to 14-3.
Grove became the first team to get into the end zone against CdM this post season when Martinez connected with Josh Huff on a 9-yard TD pass with 6:53 remaining, but Grove was already hopelessly behind.
All in all it was another excellent performance by the Sea Kings D. CdM limited Garden Grove, which was averaging 39 points per game, to 82 rushing yards, 173 passing yards and forcing three turnovers.
CdM QB Cayman Carter looked like the Southern Division player of the year with his mobile and hostile championship performance. C-Double completed 16 of 27 passes for 203 yards and one TD with no interceptions. He rushed for 68 yards and two TDs on 21 carries.
I found the CdM receiving corps to be the most impressive thing about the Sea Kings offense. Troy Reese, a , a 6-5, 195-pound senior, and Bo St. Geme, a 5-10, 150-pound sophomore, made some extremely athletic catches. Chris Johnstone, a 6-2, 180-pound senior, and Cole Martin, a 5-10, 175-pound sophomore, also had some big-time catches.
The catch of the day was the 6-yard TD catch Reese made in the second quarter. Carter threw a fade to the back corner of the end zone, Reese out-jumped two defenders for the ball and somehow managed to get one foot down in bounds for the TD. Amazing.
CdM kicker Grif Amies tied the state record for field goals in a season at the end of the second quarter when he connected on a 27-yard field goal, but CdM took the points off the board after a roughing the kicker penalty. That set up Reese’s amazing TD catch.
Amies had another chance at tying the record in the fourth quarter and he did when he connected on a 43-yard field goal. That gave him 22 field goals this season, tying Chris Sailer (Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks/UCLA) for the state record.
Amies had a chance to take sole possession of the record when he lined up for a 56-yard field goal attempt with 3:28 remaining. Amies kick was on target, but fell a yard short of the crossbar. He almost had it. It’s still been a great season for the senior.
It doesn’t appear likely that CdM will earn a berth to the CIF state Division 3 regional. The Sea Kings entered the finals ranked No. 9 in the Division 3 South bowl rankings by Cal-Hi Sports.
Follow me on Twitter @LosOCVarsity.