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CdM confident it has earned spot among the elite teams
LONG BEACH - Corona del Mar players sat confidently amongst high school football royalty Monday at the CIF Southern Section championship press conference luncheon.
St. John Bosco, Edison and San Clemente were each positioned one table away at The Grand in Long Beach. The Sea Kings felt at home.
“Being a small public school from Newport Beach, we’ve definitely shown to most of the schools here that we belong in a CIF championship,” Corona del Mar senior quarterback Chase Garbers said.
“We’re not a stranger to this. We belong here.”
The Sea Kings (12-1) reached their first section final since 2013, and first under Coach Dan O’Shea, by rallying to edge second-seeded and previously undefeated Lompoc, 35-34, in the Division 4 semifinals.
Corona del Mar will face another undefeated team Friday when it takes on top-seeded Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth (12-0) in the final at Granada Hills High. Both teams have won 12 consecutive games.
“We’re relishing the opportunity,” said O’Shea, whose squad was represented Monday by Garbers, center Arwin Rahmatpanah, linebacker Jaydin Moses and defensive lineman Teddy Barber.
“This new CIF alignment, and competitive equity, has been really great because you’re playing teams from out of the area that you don’t know in different environments.”
The Sea Kings were well-known in the division entering the season. With the Cal-committed Garbers and a talented group of receivers, they pushed Mater Dei at the Edison passing tournament in July, falling, 20-18.
Corona del Mar was ranked first in the Division 4 preseason poll but dropped its season-opener at Palos Verdes.
The Sea Kings regrouped by storming through the Pacific Coast League and winning consecutive nail-bitters in the playoffs against Colony, 49-48, and Lompoc.
“We’ve always had something to prove,” said Garbers, who has passed for 3,699 yards and 46 TDs. “Even competing with Mater Dei in 7-on-7 in summer showed a bunch of schools and the whole county something we can do.”
Linebacker Clyde Moore has been an unsung hero the past two games. The junior, a transfer from Mater Dei, has racked up 23 total tackles.