May 30, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

PHOTOS: State champs! CdM finishes off a 16-0 season with 35-27 victory over Serra

Corona del Mar players celebrate after winning the CIF State Division 1A title. (Photos: Fernando M. Donado, For OC Sports Zone)

Corona del Mar High finished off the 2019 football season with a perfect 16-0 record.

But the Sea Kings had to survive a furious fourth quarter rally Saturday at Cerritos College before holding off Serra of San Mateo 35-27 to capture the CIF Division 1-A State football championship.

To see the slide show, please click on the first photo

It marked the Sea Kings first state championship since 2013.

With 5:12 remaining in the game, Garbers tossed a 6-yard TD pass to John Humphreys that upped the Sea Kings lead to 35-14. It appeared that CdM had the game in hand and simply had to run out the clock.

However, the Padres staged a heart-thumping comeback in the final minutes.

Behind sophomore reserve quarterback Dominique Lampkin, who entered the game in the fourth quarter following an injury to starting QB Daylin McLemore, threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Terence Loville with 3:43 to play. Serra missed the PAT and trailed 35-20.

The Padres then recovered the ensuing onside kick and less than a minute later, Lampkin tossed a 23-yard TD pass to Matt Rollandi and Serra trailed 35-27.

CdM recovered the ensuing onside kick-off but was unable to move the ball and had to punt. The Padres took over at the 13-yard line and reached the Sea Kings 20-yard line. With five seconds remaining in the game, Lampkin’s pass was intercepted by Tommy Griffin in the end zone to secure the CdM win.

“Our coaches tell us all of the time to keep our heels on the ground on a final play like that and I did that and was able to make a play on the ball,” said Griffin.

Lampkin completed 11 passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns in less than a quarter of play, but it wasn’t enough for Serra.   

Sea Kings coach Dan O’Shea was ecstatic with has team’s win but admitted it got a little shaky late.

“We don’t even want to talk about the last seven or eight minutes of that game, it was a wild scramble,” said O’Shea. “You have to compliment Serra. They got the onside kick and scored a few touchdowns and played the entire 48 minutes, but we were dynamic.”

Washington-bound Garbers threw TD passes six, six, one and six yards and broke the CIF single-season TD passing with his 6-yard TD pass to Bradley Schlom that gave CdM a 14-7 lead with 9:17 left in the first half. Schlom had eight catches in the game.

“It’s really cool to have the record, but the main thing is that we got a state championship,” said Garbers, who finished the season with 71 TD passes. He has amassed 9,464 passing yards and 128 TD passes in his high school career. 

Garbers’ favorite target, John Humphreys, also playing in his final high school game, established a CIF record for passes caught in a career and season.

The Stanford-bound Humphreys has caught 111 passes this year and scored 32 touchdowns. He finishes his high school career with 287 catches (a CIF record) and 78 TDs (also a CIF record).  His 32 TD receptions is also a CIF single season record. 

“Winning a state championship means everything in the world,” Humphreys said.

Redman, the tight end, also had a huge game as he caught seven passes for 93 yards and recorded a huge sack late in the game. 

“My brother went 16-0 and now I can say I went 16-0 and won a state championship,” said Redman, who is also Washington-bound.

O’Shea has also compiled an impressive record over the past five years and his teams have a mark of 58-9-1.

Serra took the opening kickoff and marched 80 yards in 10 plays for a score to take an early 7-0 lead. McLemore completed six of six passes on the drive, including a key 27-yard pass for a key first down to Loville to keep the drive alive. McLemore raced in from nine yards for a touchdown to cap the drive.

The Sea Kings immediately countered with a 7-play, 71-yard scoring drive to tie the game at 7-7. Garbers gave the CdM offense a boost as he darted 45 yards to the Padres 2-yard line. Two plays later, Garbers scored on a 2-yard run for the tying touchdown.

CdM defensive lineman Jack Rottler recorded a sack on Serra’s ensuing possession to force the Padres to punt. The Sea Kings recorded five sacks in the game.

The Sea Kings went back on the move as Garbers rallied CdM with his arm and his feet. He guided the Sea Kings to a 12-play, 87-yard drive that he capped off with a 6-yard TD pass to Schlom.

The Sea Kings defense slowed the Padres attack and CdM was on its way a potential third touchdown of the first half but Garbers was intercepted deep in Serra territory foiling the Sea Kings drive. 

However, CdM defensive back Chandler Fincher picked off McLemore’s pass at the Sea Kings 25-yard line and retuned it 32 yards to get the Sea Kings back in business. 

“We got complacent late in the game and that’s the only reason they were able to come back,” said Fincher. “We pulled together at the end and we proved an undersized team can win a state championship.”

Late in the first half, Garbers ripped off a 28-yard run to the Padres six-yard line with under a minute to play. The Sea Kings moved the ball to the one-yard line with five seconds left in the half and elected to go for it on fourth down, but Garbers was stopped short of the goal line as the first half ended. 

Garbers rushed for 139 yards and a touchdown in the first half and passed for 110 yards but CdM only held a 14-7 lead at the break. He finished with 142 yards rushing in the game and a TD run.

Play got chippy midway through the final quarter when Rottler got involved in the middle of a group of Serra players as he made a tackle near the Padres sidelines.  He was knocked to the ground and both teams had to be separated before play resumed. No penalties were handled out on the play.

“It’s part of the game, it is what it is, there wasn’t any problem” said Rottler. “We’re playing for a state championship.”

CdM players were thrilled with winning a state championship. 

“We been dreaming about winning a state championship since we were 8 years old, this is for our community,” said linebacker Charlie Mannon.

“It’s the best feeling ever,” said junior tight end Scott Giuliano, who caught a TD pass from Garbers in the third quarter to give CdM a 21-7 lead.  “When it got close at the end, we really stuck together.”

Riley Binnquist rushed for 80 yards on 10 carries for the Sea Kings.

Serra finished the season with a 13-2 mark. The Padres shared the West Catholic League title, along with Valley Christian and St. Ignatius. Serra’s only other loss this season was a 14-13 setback in November to St. Ignatius. In that game, the Padres scored in the final minute of the game but missed the 2-point conversion.

San Mateo defeated Valley Christian to win the CIF Northern Coast title and then beat San Joaquin Memorial in the an opening round of the CIF State Football Championship Bowl game last week.  

The Sea Kings won 10 straight preseason and league games to capture the Sunset League title. CdM then won four consecutive playoff games, including defeating Semi Valley Grace Brethren to win the CIF-SS Division 3 championship. 

In a tight CIF State Football Championship Bowl game last weekend, the Sea Kings held on and beat Oceanside, 14-7, before capping off their season in unblemished fashion against the Padres on Saturday.

STATS

RUSHING: S, Lampkin 4-25, Mahasin 5-12; CdM, Binnquist 10-80. Garbers 14-142.

PASSING: S, Lampkin 11-16-2, 128 yards, 2 TDs, McLemore 11-16-1, 158 yards. CdM, Garbers 28-41-1, 256 yards, 4 TDs 

RECEIVING: S, Loville 4-144, Rollandi 3-45; CdM, Redman 7-93, Humphreys 10-85, Schlom 8-65.

RELATED: It’s a perfect ending for Garbers, Humphreys and Redman

-Tom Connolly, For OC Sports Zone