"He played soccer for years, but he always loved playing football," Baker said. "We would go out to the park over at Bonita Creek and kick footballs for hours. Then we'd go to Newport Harbor when they weren't around, and work on kicking the ball. That worked out well for him."
Baker, who has seen a handful of CdM's games this year, said he plans to attend Saturday's title game against Garden Grove. He has given Griff Amies advice, not to worry or feel nervous about the individual record.
Griff Amies is surely part of a special team at CdM. So was his father, at the Sea Kings' rival school. He was a junior receiver/defensive back on the famous 1970 Newport Harbor High football team that won the Sailors' first league title in 28 years. A documentary about that team, "Touchdown Newport," debuted for a private audience in September.
Griff's parents, Grif and Karen, have always been supportive of their only son.
"All he ever wanted to do is kick," Grif Amies said. "He's passionate about it, and he's got great coaching and parents that are behind him. He's been through a lot, but it's all good. The whole thing goes a little deeper than just Saturday afternoon … [but] he's not a dainty kid, you know. What happened 18 years ago is well-healed. He's as strong as anyone else. He's always wanted to kick on Sundays. That's his whole deal. He's got the drive to do it."
Griff transferred from Newport Harbor to CdM right before his junior year. He was ruled ineligible for varsity that year, so he kicked for the CdM junior varsity squad.
This year, he has made quite a statement. He made a season-high four field goals in the Sea Kings' narrow Battle of the Bay loss. The week before, the school-record 52-yarder came in Amies' first game of the year. In practice, Griff said he has made 60-yard field goals.
"I feel like I'm getting more confident every game with my kicks," Griff Amies said. "I remember my first game this year, I was so nervous."
As he has been for every CdM game this year, dad was in attendance too for that Western game. He felt very proud when that kick went through the uprights.
"That was great," Grif Amies said. "I was very, very happy for him. His mom and I were as happy as he is … That 52-yarder, he deserved that."
Grif Amies quickly corrected himself.
"Not deserved it," he said. "He worked for it."