Corona del Mar quarterback Chase Garbers, middle, celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown.

CdM defense makes it a three-peat in Battle of the Bay


COSTA MESA – When Corona del Mar was winning CIF-Southern Section championships a couple of years ago, the Sea Kings were best known for their flashy offense.

That was an accurate assessment. Their defense was always good too.

Corona del Mar’s defense was good again Thursday night. That unit led the Sea Kings to a 24-3 win over Newport Harbor in the Battle of the Bay at Orange Coast College.

Corona del Mar has beaten Newport Harbor three times in a row for the first time in 27 years. Newport Harbor still leads the series, 38-16. The Sea Kings’ longest winning streak in the series is four, 1985-88.

The Sea Kings are 3-1. They have allowed only 37 points in their four games.

Newport Harbor is 2-1.

Sea Kings junior defensive lineman Bryce Claybaugh recovered two fumbles and had a fourth-quarter sack. Another Corona del Mar junior defensive lineman, Teddy Barber, had sacks on back-to-back plays in the fourth quarter.

Corona del Mar quarterback Chase Garbers ran for two touchdowns, both of 2 yards, and completed 22 of 36 passes for 204 yards without an interception. He completed his first 11 passes.

Corona del Mar had a 7-3 lead through three quarters. Garbers’ second touchdown, early in the fourth quarter, made it 14-3. Jason Neiger kicked a 32-yard field goal for a 17-3 lead and Thomas Walker completed the scoring on a 1-yard touchdown dive with 1:47 left in the game.

Corona del Mar’s first possession was its most impressive of the game.

The Sea Kings, starting at their 2-yard line, drove 98 yards on 15 plays. Garbers scored on a 2-yard run to give Corona del Mar a 7-0 lead. Garbers completed all eight his passes for 76 yards on the drive.

After that Corona del Mar touchdown, Newport Harbor drove to the Corona del Mar 29. A run got two yards, then two incompletions set up a fourth-and-8 at the 27. An incomplete pass  there gave the ball back to Corona del Mar.

The Sea Kings were only able to advance the ball to midfield on their ensuing possession that covered the final minutes of the first quarter and the first moments of the second. They punted.

Newport Harbor then maneuvered to the Corona del Mar 34. That’s when Claybaugh made his first fumble recovery, pouncing upon the loose ball after a misplayed handoff exchange in the Newport Harbor backfield.

Newport Harbor’s next possession produced the Sailors only points of the first half, a 22-yard field goal by Riley Blake with 1:20 left in the half to trim the Corona del Mar lead to 7-3.

Corona del Mar plays Tesoro on Thursday at Estancia High. Tesoro is No. 6 in the Orange County top 10. That is the Sea Kings’ final nonleague game before they take their bye week and open Pacific Coast League play Oct. 9 against Woodbridge at University High.

Newport Harbor plays at San Clemente next Friday. The Sailors then play Mira Costa of Manhattan Beach before playing their Sunset League opener at home against Fountain Valley on Oct. 8.

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