Man-to-man coverage is a tough proposition for opponents of the Corona del Mar High football team.
The Sea Kings’ receivers are built like, well, men.
The Sea Kings used the first half Thursday night to spread the ball around against overmatched Northwood. Five different players caught touchdown passes as the Sea Kings routed the Timberwolves 56-0 in a Pacific Coast League game at Newport Harbor High.
CdM (7-1, 3-0 in league) had no problem winning its 28th straight league game dating back to 2012. The Sea Kings moved half a game ahead of Woodbridge in league. The Warriors play at home against Beckman on Friday night.
The Sea Kings, ranked No. 5 in CIF Southern Section Division 4, had no problem airing it out against Northwood (1-7, 0-3). Senior quarterback Nathaniel Espinoza did not play after halftime, but he had a career-high five touchdown passes, one off Chase Garbers’ single-game program record.
After the Sea Kings turned it over on downs in Northwood territory on their first series, Espinoza went to work. He needed just nine completions to rack up 280 passing yards.
The scores included a 38-yard touchdown to TaeVeon Le, followed by a 48-yard bomb to Spencer Hook and a 43-yard score to Le.
Espinoza then found Mark Redman on a one-yard score to the back corner of the end zone, then hooked up over the middle with John Humphreys in the final two minutes of the half.
“They were playing man-to-man coverage, and when a team plays man-to-man coverage, we’ve got to be really efficient vertically in the passing game,” CdM coach Dan O’Shea said. “I thought Nathaniel was out of his mind good after the first series, throwing the ball down the field and letting our matchups win. And I thought defensively we played really solid. All in all, a really good night, and we wish Northwood very well.”
For the third time in as many league games, the Sea Kings were able to use all four of their quarterbacks. Ethan Garbers’ first pass attempt was a 70-yard screen pass for a touchdown to J.T. Murphy in the second quarter, sprung by a good block by Sean Owens on the outside about 10 yards past the line of scrimmage. On the Sea Kings’ next series, freshman quarterback General Booty’s first pass was a 40-yard touchdown over the middle to Hook, the senior’s second receiving score of the night.
“It’s really great,” Espinoza said. “We have a really good quarterback group, and it’s really good guys and all-around talent. We bring something else to the table every time.”
Senior Erik Zimmerman played quarterback much of the second half for the Sea Kings, who got their final score on the ground when Alex Pourdanesh found the end zone from 31 yards out late in the third quarter.
“We spread the ball around well,” O’Shea said. “Every one of our skill players got in the end zone.”
Defensively, the Sea Kings were stout in earning their first shutout of the season. They bothered Northwood quarterbacks Trevor Littlejohn and Tanner Buck all game long. CdM registered three quarterback sacks, including two on consecutive plays in the second quarter by Connor McGuire. Tommy Jensen added an interception for the Sea Kings.
O’Shea said he expects stronger challenges in CdM’s final two league games, against Irvine at Davidson Field on Oct. 27 and at Woodbridge on Nov. 3. CdM has outscored its first three league opponents by a combined 160-16, but O’Shea said he does not expect complacency.
“There is zero complacency, because we tell our kids every single day, we play against ourselves,” O’Shea said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s 49-0 or losing 49-0. We play against the standards of Corona del Mar football, which is perfection every snap.”
Northwood 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 — 0
Corona del Mar 14 – 35 – 7 – 0 — 56
CdM – Le 38 pass from Espinoza (Casper kick), 6:39.
CdM – Hook 48 pass from Espinoza (Casper kick), 2:15.
CdM – Le 43 pass from Espinoza (Casper kick), 11:45.
CdM – Redman 1 pass from Espinoza (Casper kick), 9:18.
CdM – Murphy 70 pass from Garbers (Casper kick), 6:30.
CdM – Hook 40 pass from Booty (Casper kick), 4:46.
CdM – Humphreys 50 pass from Espinoza (Casper kick), 1:19.
CdM – A. Pourdanesh 31 run (Casper kick), 0:26.
CdM – A. Pourdanesh, 7-49, 1 TD.
N – Aviles, 8-24.
CdM – Espinoza, 9-13-0, 280, 5 TDs.
N – Littlejohn, 7-12-0, 26.
CdM – Le, 4-128, 2 TDs.
N – Demaio, 3-19.
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