It is fair to say that Corona del Mar High’s football team is ready to play in the Sunset League next season.
With a 70-0 victory over Irvine on Friday night at Newport Harbor High, the host Sea Kings rolled to their 29th victory in a row in Pacific Coast League play.
During CdM’s winning streak in league, it has scored a program-best 70 points twice, each time against Irvine in the last two meetings. Last year, the Sea Kings beat the Vaqueros 70-6.
“I think we were just really fortunate to have a couple of big plays in the passing game early, and what I think is so good is our balance,” CdM coach Dan O’Shea said of his team’s performance on offense. “To be where we want to be, we need to be able to hand it off, be able to have our quarterback throw it, and be efficient in the passing game. I [also] thought defensively we were lights out, up front especially.”
The Sea Kings (8-1, 4-0 in league) haven’t wrapped up their sixth straight league championship. They are playing for the title next week, when the Sea Kings face Woodbridge (7-2, 4-0) in the regular-season finale at University High.
In their final year in the Pacific Coast League, the Sea Kings are dismantling teams. The Sea Kings have now outscored their opponents 230-16 in league.
CdM, ranked No. 5 in the CIF Southern Section Division 4 poll, appears on its way to another undefeated league campaign.
“We’ve been fortunate to have some growth in our football program in terms of numbers and challenges we put forth on kids,” O’Shea said. “We want to be the best football program in Orange Country. We’re not there yet, but that’s our goal. Whether we’re in the Pacific Coast League, which we’ve really enjoyed, or the Sunset League, we challenge our kids every day to be the best football program in the county, and we’re going to keep grinding until we get there.”
Senior quarterback Nathaniel Espinoza stood out for CdM. He completed 10 of 17 passes for 237 yards and four touchdowns, and ran five times for 95 yards and three touchdowns.
Two of his touchdowns went to TaeVeon Le, who finished with six catches for 134 yards.
Espinoza, who threw two first-half touchdowns to John Humphreys, exited in the fourth quarter. Quarterbacks Erik Zimmerman and General Booty shared the snaps the rest of the way.
“He’s such a dynamic athlete. He can run it and throw it as well as anybody we’ve had. He continues to get better and better every week,” O’Shea said of Espinoza. “We’ve challenged him each week and he takes it like a man. You wish you could have a hundred of those guys because of his character and I’m really proud of his continued growth. We need that quarterback position to be really efficient in the playoffs to be successful.”
The Sea Kings used a 28-point second quarter to blow the game open against Irvine (5-4, 2-2). The defense came up with three turnovers in CdM’s second consecutive shutout.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Corona del Mar 14 – 28 – 14 – 14 — 70
Irvine 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 — 0
CdM – Espinoza 52 run (Casper kick), 11:43.
CdM – Humphreys 7 pass from Espinoza (Casper kick), 10:36.
CdM – Espinoza 20 run (Casper kick), 11:04.
CdM – Le 49 pass from Espinoza (Casper kick), 7:55.
CdM – Espinoza 23 run (Casper kick), 2:17.
CdM – Humphreys 69 pass from Espinoza (Casper kick), 1:03.
CdM – Le 10 pass from Espinoza (Casper kick), 9:14.
CdM – A. Pourdanesh 3 run (Casper kick), 4:50.
CdM – Binnquist 17 run (Casper kick), 10:58.
CdM – Booty 45 run (Casper kick), 2:45.
CdM – Espinoza, 5-95, 3 TDs.
I – Dang, 2-9.
CdM – Espinoza, 10-17, 237, 4 TDs.
I – Filia, 13-23, 127.
CdM – Le, 6-134, 2 TDs.
I – Fields, 4-37.
JUAN CARLOS GONZALEZ is a contributor to Times Community News: Follow him on Twitter: @JGonzalezSports
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