May 25, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

PHOTOS: Garbers throws six TD passes and CdM rolls past Cajon 42-14 to reach semifinals

Bradley Schlom of CdM is congratulated by teammate John Humphreys after scoring a touchdown in the first quarter Saturday night. (Photos Fernando M. Donado, For OC Sports Zone)

The Corona del Mar High football machine keeps on rolling.

Sea Kings quarterback Ethan Garbers threw six touchdown passes to lead CdM to an impressive 42-14 victory over San Bernardino Cajon in a CIF Division 3 quarterfinal playoff game Saturday night at Newport Harbor High. 

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

The Washington-bound Garbers completed 15 passes for 328 yards and threw TD passes of 23, 67, 48, 65, 12 and two yards as the Sea Kings remained undefeated at 12-0. Garbers’ six TD passes was not even a season-high. He threw eight TD passes earlier this season in a game against Downey.  

The Sea Kings, who beat Corona Santiago last week 49-0 in the opening round of the playoffs, advance to the semifinals next Friday and will face Alemany, who defeated Tesoro 47-28 Friday evening.   

Garbers has thrown for 8,376 yards and 115 touchdowns in his high school career thus far.  

CdM, who lost in the CIF finals last season to Grace Brethren, won the Sunset League this season and have their sights set on capturing a CIF title. 

“We still have work to do,” said Garbers. “Our O-line was great and our defense played their butts off. I wouldn’t say we are playing our best football yet this season; we can still get better. We’re looking to get to that championship game.”

The Sea Kings special teams came up big early as they pinned Cajon deep in their own territory on the Cowboys first two possessions to start the game.  

“Our kicker Dane Voorhers is the MVP of special teams,” said Sea Kings Coach Dan OShea. “I think he had five kicks tonight within their 20-yard line and field position in a game like this is huge.”   

CdM needed just three plays to get on the board on their first possession of the game. Garbers tossed a 23-yard TD pass to senior wide receiver Bradley Schlom, giving the Sea Kings a 7-0 lead.   

“It was in our game plan to come out strong and score a lot of points tonight,” Schlom said. “It feels great to be going to the semifinals and it feels like we’re getting better.”

Schlom had TD catches of 23 and 48 yards and now has 1,029 yards receiving this season.    

The Cowboys countered with an impressive 16-play drive but it was stalled when they came up short on a fourth-down play at the CdM 16-yard line. 

The Sea Kings offense quickly went back to work and again needed just three plays to up its lead to 14-0.

Garbers completed a pass across the middle to John Humphreys. Following Humphreys’ catch, Simon Hall provided a key block that sprung Humphreys down the sideline for a 67-yard touchdown.

“We played together and we’re playing for each other and the guy next to us,” said the Stanford-bound Humphreys, who had six catches for 192 yards and three TDs, upping his TD total to 27 this season. “It feels great to be going to the semis.”

After 12 minutes of play, CdM ran only six plays (to Cajon’s 22 plays) and led 14-0.

The Cowboys put together a 12-play, 80-yard scoring drive that was capped out by Amir Brown’s one-yard TD run. Cajon added 2-point conversion and trailed 14-8 with 4:26 left in the first half.

Garbers rallied the Sea Kings yet again, tossing his third TD pass of the game – this time a 48-yarder – to Schlom to increase CdM’s lead to 21-8 at the half. 

CdM’s offense picked up where it left off in the second half.

On the first play of the second half, Garbers hooked up with Humphreys on a 65-yard TD pass play. After making the catch, Humphrey’s broke a tackle and raced 40 yards into the end zone, upping CdM’s lead to 28-8.  

Garbers added another TD pass to Humphreys in the third quarter and then one to Riley Binnquist in the fourth quarter to close out the Sea Kings scoring. Binnquist also rushed for 72 yards on 12 carries.

“Ethan is such a fierce competitor; he’s an assassin,” said OShea. “He leads us and he is unbelievable.”

Thomas Bouda and Mason Gecowets led an aggressive Sea Kings defense that gave up some yards but limited the Cowboys to 14 points. 

“We set the tone early,” said Gecowets. “We gave us some big plays but we played together and we played hard.”

Bouda agreed.

“We played lights out tonight,” said Bouda, who had two sacks in the game. “We pushed and tackled well.”

CdM has rolled through the regular season and the playoffs thus far defeating their opponents by an average of nearly 35 points. The closest game the Sea Kings have played this season was an early season 20-10 victory over Palos Verdes. CdM has scored over 40 points in 11 of 12 this season. 

The Cowboys, who defeated Chatsworth Sierra Canyon 34-30 in an opening round playoff game last week, entered Saturday’s game with lofty offensive numbers, averaging 38 points per game. Running back Freddy Fletcher has amassed 1,276 yards rushing this season.

However, Cajon, the champions of the Citrus Belt League, had their 7-game winning streak snapped and finish the season at 9-3. 

Cajon won a CIF title in 2017 and lost in the CIF final in 2018. The Cowboys are one of top five winningest teams in California over the past five years.

STATS

RUSHING: C, Fletcher 22-81, Calderon 13-28; CdM, Binnquist 12-72, Rector 5-17.   

PASSING: C, Calderon 13-22-1, 154 yards, TD; CdM, Garbers 15-21-0, 328 yards, 6 TDs

RECEIVING: C, Phillips 7-71, Burries 3-43. CdM, Humphreys 6-192, Schlom 2-71.

RELATED: Looking back and ahead at CIF playoffs

RELATED: CdM-Cajon pre-game story

-Tom Connolly, For OC Sports Zone