NEWPORT BEACH — First, the Corona del Mar High offense took its time. Then, it took seemingly everything it needed, scoring on seven of its first nine possessions in a 37-24 nonleague football victory Friday over Cypress at Newport Harbor High.
Meanwhile, the Sea Kings' defense took more than anyone ever had from the Centurions, who committed four turnovers, double their total in their first four games.
CdM (3-2), ranked No. 4 in the CIF Southern Section Southern Division, used 17 plays after taking the opening kickoff, before senior Grif Amies kicked the first of his three field goals to open a 3-0 lead with 5:43 left in the first quarter.
After a punt on its second possession, following a Cypress touchdown drive that gave the visitors (3-2) a 7-3 advantage after one quarter, CdM scored in its final two first-half possessions.
The second touchdown came on a four-play explosion that began with 1:08 left in the half, but took only 26 seconds off the clock to provide a 17-10 halftime lead.
Amies finished off the first-two CdM possessions of the second half with field goals of 41 and 22 yards and, after sophomore Chad Redfearn returned a CdM interception 49 yards to the Cypress 11-yard line, Sea Kings senior quarterback Cayman Carter scored on a two-yard sneak to put the hosts up, 30-10, just 11 seconds into the final period.
Carter completed 15 of 20 passes for 181 yard and one touchdown, while running for 93 yards and two scores on 10 rushing attempts to lead an efficient CdM offensive attack.
Sophomore tailback Cole Martin contributed 98 rushing yards on 21 attempts, with his final carry producing a 10-yard touchdown run that finalized the scoring with 1:14 left.
Sophomore Bo St. Geme caught five passes for 88 yards, while senior Troy Reese netted 54 yards on three receptions, including a 39-yard run-and-catch near the end of the first half.
Reese, running an out pattern, caught the ball near the south sideline and turned up field expecting to be hit. But the Cypress defender, diving at Reese's feet, missed completely, allowing the receiver to sprint across the goal line.
Another Cypress tackling mishap allowed Carter to burst out of a crowd during a scramble for a 45-yard touchdown run with 4:35 left in the first half. Carter appeared to be wrapped up on the play, but the Cypress defender he was engaged with slipped away after trying to strip the ball from Cayman, leaving the quarterback an unexpected open path to paydirt.
The Cypress mistakes were not limited to tackling, as its offense lost two fumbles and had two passes intercepted.
CdM junior linebacker Alex Moore recovered a fumble at his own five-yard line after a teammate punched it free following a Cypress reception.
That turnover led to an eight-play, 95-yard scoring procession capped by the aforementioned Carter scramble.
Sophomore linebacker Barrett Barbato recovered a fumble at the Cypress 38-yard line that led to the second of Amies third-quarter field goals.
Senior safety Jack Harris iced the victory by intercepting to end Cypress' final possession.
Cypress, led by senior tailback Jake Brito, who had 145 rushing yards and two touchdowns in 22 carries, did not go down without a fight.
After it marched 75 yards on 10 plays to pull within 30-17 with 5:39 left in the game, CdM went three-and-out to give the visitors the ball back.
On the second play of its ensuing possession, Anthony Arevalos took a lateral pass and threw a pass to Quentin Pounds for a 78-yard touchdown gadget that drew the Centurions within 30-24 with 3:12 left.
Reese jumped high to haul in the subsequent onside pooch kickoff and CdM added a touchdown to halt its two-game losing streak.