By David Carrillo Peñaloza
8:57 PM PST, December 27, 2012
Every two years, Cayman Carter and his family go on vacation around this time of the year. This year's trip is a cruise and it has taken the Carter family to the Caribbean islands.
The getaway is a well-deserved one for Carter, who needed some downtime. The year has been a long and grueling one for Carter.
He hasn't had much time off since August, when the Corona del Mar High football team opened training camp. Four months later, his season concluded on Dec. 1.
He started the month leading the Sea Kings to a CIF Southern Section Southern Division title win. Now, he's going to end the month relaxing.
The senior hasn't thought much about his future in football. When he returns home before the New Year, Carter plans to focus on what's next for him.
In the meantime, Carter is going to enjoy everything he set out to accomplish on the field for CdM. In his first year as the starting varsity quarterback, Carter was not only the best player on his team, but also the No. 1 player in the area.
Carter is the Daily Pilot Newport-Mesa Dream Team Player of the Year in football. He beat defenses with his arm and his legs.
The area hasn't really seen a dual-threat quarterback like Carter, who passed for 2,210 yards and 17 touchdowns, with only six interceptions, and rushed for 1,073 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Kevin Hettig, the team's offensive coordinator, described Carter the best.
"He's like a running back that can throw like a quarterback," Hettig said of Carter, who rushed 197 times, averaging 5.4 yards per carry, and completed 167 of 290 passes, setting a CdM single-season completion record.
"He loves to run. I did [worry] at first [about running our quarterback so much], and then after [opening the season against] Laguna Hills, I said, 'This kid, he rules our offense. He's going to put his head down and get yards, do whatever he can.'"
For every play of CdM's 14 games, Carter went all out. The 6-foot, 185-pounder never took a play off and Coach Scott Meyer said Carter's play inspired the rest of the Sea Kings to do their best.
The effort led to CdM's second straight Southern Division crown under Meyer. In the section finale, Carter rushed for two touchdowns and threw for one as the top-seeded Sea Kings capped their season with a 35-10 victory against No. 3 Garden Grove at Angel Stadium.
The win marked the 10th in a row for CdM (12-2) and its longest winning streak in a season in the program's history. It was during that stretch Carter became a force.
In the final 10 games of the year, Carter threw 15 touchdown passes, with only one interception, and rushed for 12 touchdowns. He averaged 158.2 yards through the air and 70.9 yards on the ground during the winning streak.
Defenses never figured out how to slow Carter down after the first four games of the season.
In Pacific Coast League play, Carter led CdM to a 5-0 record, marking the first time the school claimed an undefeated league title. He earned the Pacific Coast League MVP award.
The reasons for his success, Carter credits the offensive linemen (left tackle Nick Storm, left guard Michael Martinez, center Giovanni Gentosi, right guard Brett Olson, right tackle Ian Redman) blocking for him, the wide receivers (Troy Reese, Bo St. Geme, Chris Johnstone) catching his passes, tailbacks (Kai Wilson, Cole Martin) for taking pressure off him, and his coaches (Meyer, Hettig) for believing in him.
"The last game at Angel Stadium was such a great moment, such a great way to end the season," said Carter, who completed 16 of 27 passes for 203 yards and rushed 21 times for 68 yards in the Southern Division title game. "I'll never forget how well the team played overall. The defense was amazing during the playoffs [as it only allowed 10 points]. We all worked really hard to repeat as champions."
As for Carter's reward for the hard work, he gets to take it easy on a cruise ship.
Below are the rest of the players on this year's Dream Team:
Offensive Player of the Year
The senior running back bounced back from a collarbone injury that sidelined him for almost his entire junior season and posted impressive numbers in his final year with Newport Harbor. Teaupa rushed for an area-best 1,662 yards, to go with 11 touchdowns, and he produced four 200-yard games on the ground. He garnered the Sunset League Offensive Player of the Year award after carrying the load for the Sailors by rushing 262 times. Teaupa led the Sailors to their best record (4-1) in Sunset League play in 35 years and the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Southwest Division playoffs, the program's first quarterfinal appearance in seven years. The single-season yard total by Teaupa ranks eighth in Newport Harbor's history. He also rushed for 272 yards in the first round against Troy, giving Teaupa the eighth-best single-game rushing performance in the program's record book. Teaupa earned third-team All-Orange County honors by the Orange County Register.
Defensive Player of the Year
The junior middle linebacker used his athleticism, speed, strength and smarts to register his second straight season with 100-plus tackles, an impressive feat considering he starred at tailback as well for Costa Mesa, rushing for 1,391 yards and an area-best 17 touchdowns. Crenshaw finished with 110 tackles, six for losses, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He was relentless in his pursuit of whoever carried the ball and he earned third-team All-Orange County and first-team All-Orange Coast League laurels. Twice he posted 18-tackle performances. Crenshaw is expected to be one of the county's highly sought after seniors next season as Coach Wally Grant said Boise State, Utah, San Diego State, UCLA and Missouri are recruiting the 6-foot-1, 195-pounder. Grant said Crenshaw is as talented as Crenshaw's father, DeWayne, who earned All-CIF Southern Section Division VIII honors after leading Costa Mesa to its first section final appearance in 1993. He is a two-time Dream Team selection.
The sophomore quarterback became the starter after Zach Wade broke his foot in the second game of the season and Newport Harbor took off. Norris went 7-3 as the Sailors' starting signal caller, including five straight wins late in the season, the program's longest winning streak in seven years. He completed 109 of 186 passes for 1,463 yards and 16 touchdowns, with six interceptions. Norris threw a game-winning 22-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-goal with 24 seconds left to lead Newport Harbor to a 27-26 comeback win against CdM in the Battle of the Bay. Norris earned first-team All-Sunset League honors.
The senior running back capped an illustrious three-year career with Estancia, finishing as the Newport-Mesa career leader for yards rushing (5,489) and touchdowns (58). In his final year, Murtha rushed 225 times for 1,594 yards and 15 touchdowns, and he received the Orange Coast League Offensive Player of the Year award for the third straight season. For his career, he rushed for 54 touchdowns, caught two passes for touchdowns and returned two kickoffs for touchdowns. Murtha helped the Eagles reach the CIF Southern Section Southern Division playoffs for the fourth straight season. Murtha is a three-time Dream Team selection.
RB/Corona del Mar
The senior running back went down in the second game of the season with Achilles tendon and ankle issues, missing two games, but returned to provide CdM a breakaway threat during its CIF Southern Section Southern Division championship season. Wilson managed to rush for 1,058 yards and nine touchdowns, and he averaged an area-best 8.4 yards per carry, despite sharing the running duties with quarterback Cayman Carter and tailback Cole Martin, who each ran 100-plus times. His longest runs went for 83 (touchdown), 59, 49, 47 (touchdown), 46 and 31 yards. Wilson earned first-team All-Pacific Coast League honors.
The junior wide receiver emerged as a playmaker for Newport Harbor, giving the offense another weapon. Truxton finished with 48 receptions for 762 yards and 11 touchdowns, tops in the area, and he averaged an area-best 15.9 yards per catch. His biggest performance — 12 catches for 216 yards and three touchdowns — came during the Sailors' 31-28 comeback win in overtime against Los Alamitos in a Sunset League finale that clinched second place. Truxton earned third-team All-Orange County and first-team All-Sunset League honors. Truxton is the second member from his family to make the Dream Team, his brother, Kellon, made it in 2010.
WR/Corona del Mar
The senior wide receiver overcame an offseason hip-flexor injury and proved to be unstoppable whenever CdM threw the ball his way. Reese's best attributes were his 6-foot-4 frame, his hands and his determination to fight for every ball in the air. His catches (55) and yards (803) each ranked No. 1 in the area, and he caught nine touchdown passes. One of those touchdowns came right before halftime of the CIF Southern Section Southern Division championship game. In his second straight section title game, Reese hauled in a late first-half touchdown pass. Reese earned first-team All-Pacific Coast League honors.
The senior right tackle paved the way for Newport Harbor tailback Talalelei Teaupa and protected quarterback Cole Norris. The 6-foot-3, 264-pound Cornwell helped the offense average 30.2 points per game during a five-game winning streak, which included the Sailors' first CIF Southern Section playoff win in five years. Cornwell earned third-team All-Orange County and first-team All-Sunset League honors.
OL/Corona del Mar
The junior center anchored CdM's no-huddle spread offense, which averaged an area-best 32.5 points per game. Gentosi, a 6-foot-2, 218-pounder, always delivered quality snaps to quarterback Cayman Carter, who was usually in shotgun formation. The Sea Kings averaged 203.2 yards rushing and 164.4 yards passing. Gentosi earned first-team All-Pacific Coast League honors.
The junior left tackle played a vital role in Costa Mesa's ground attack, which amassed 2,647 yards and 29 touchdowns. The Mustangs ran tailback Oronde Crenshaw behind Zalpa's side often and the running game accounted for 78% of the Mustangs' offensive yards. Zalpa, a 6-foot-2, 270-pounder, never allowed his opponent to sack quarterback Noah JeyaRajah.
OL/Corona del Mar
The senior left guard concentrated on offense after starting both ways during nonleague play and the move paid off for CdM. The offense sparked the Sea Kings' perfect run in the Pacific Coast League, leading to their first undefeated league crown in the program's history. Martinez earned first-team All-Pacific Coast League honors.
The senior left guard opened holes for Talalelei Teaupa. Williams, a 6-foot, 226-pounder, was part of a line that allowed Teaupa to record four 200-yard games, including a 272-yard effort in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Southwest Division playoffs and a 237-yard effort in the Battle of the Bay. Williams earned second-team All-Sunset League honors.
The junior defensive tackle sparked Newport Harbor's defense down the stretch as the Sailors allowed 14.7 points per game during a four-game winning streak in Sunset League play. Hufford, a 6-foot-3, 296-pounder, shared the Sunset League Defensive Lineman of the Year award after Newport Harbor closed out league with four straight victories for the first time in eight years. He produced 69 tackles, 10 for losses, two sacks, 10 hurries and two forced fumbles. Hufford earned third-team All-Orange County honors.
DL/Corona del Mar
The senior defensive end created havoc for offenses with his pass-rushing abilities, lifting CdM to back-to-back CIF Southern Section Southern Division titles. During the latest championship run, the Sea Kings shut out their first three playoff opponents. Reinhardt, a 6-foot-3, 225-pounder, faced many double teams, yet was able to register nine sacks, and make 47 tackles, record one safety and force one fumble. He earned second-team All-Orange County and first-team All-Pacific Coast League honors. Reinhardt is a two-time Dream Team selection.
DL/Corona del Mar
The senior defensive end was one of three linemen to start for the second straight season for CdM. Williford's presence benefited four inexperienced linebackers. Williford, a 6-foot, 224-pounder, finished with 33 tackles, two sacks, one fumble recovery, one forced fumble and one interception. He returned the interception 21 yards for a touchdown in the Sea Kings' 25-0 road win against Woodbridge in the semifinals of the CIF Southern Section Southern Division playoffs. He earned first-team All-Pacific Coast League honors.
LB/Corona del Mar
The junior middle linebacker emerged as one of the best in his class, leading the area with 143 tackles, an average of 10.2 tackles per game for CdM. Moore, who had one sack, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery, earned third-team All-Orange County honors and a share of the Pacific Coast League Defensive MVP award. He recorded eight tackles and returned an interception 30 yards for a touchdown in CdM's CIF Southern Section Southern Division championship win against Garden Grove.
The senior middle linebacker was one of the biggest hitters in the area and a sure tackler for Newport Harbor. Taylor totaled 120 tackles, one for a loss, and intercepted one pass. Taylor's interception came in the Sailors' 42-21 win against Troy in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Southwest Division playoffs, Newport Harbor's first postseason triumph in five years. He helped the Sailors reach the playoffs for the fourth straight season. Taylor earned first-team All-Sunset League honors.
The senior linebacker was a reliable tackler for Estancia, finishing with 84 solo tackles, the most in the area, giving him 122 total tackles. Koste earned a share of the Orange Coast League Defensive Player of the Year award. He finished with seven sacks, two interceptions and one fumble recovery. His best performance was a 15-tackle, four-sack, one-forced fumble effort against Saddleback. Koste led the Eagles to their fourth straight CIF Southern Section Southern Division playoff appearance.
The senior cornerback could've made the Dream Team as a receiver, but he made a bigger impact on defense for Newport Harbor. Gyulay, a first-team All-Sunset League pick, almost led the Sailors to the semifinals of the CIF Southern Section Southwest Division playoffs with his stellar play. In the quarterfinals against Villa Park, he knocked down a two-point conversion-pass attempt and caught an 80-yard touchdown pass. He finished with 34 tackles, one interception and one sack. Gyulay is a two-time Dream Team selection.
DB/Corona del Mar
The senior cornerback used his 6-foot-4 frame to his and CdM's advantage while covering smaller receivers. Griffin moved well for his size and he made 58 tackles and intercepted four passes. He was part of four shutouts the Sea Kings turned in during a 10-game winning streak, the longest in a season in CdM's history. During CdM's CIF Southern Section Southern Division title run, he intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble. Griffin earned first-team All-Pacific Coast League honors.
The senior strong safety overcame an offseason knee surgery and played at a high level for Newport Harbor after the first couple of games. Kula also lined up as a linebacker for the Sailors, who used him all over the field because of his tackling ability. He finished with 99 tackles, two for losses, one sack, six hurries and one forced fumble. His brother, Brandon, made the Dream Team four years ago. Kula earned first-team All-Sunset League honors.
The senior strong safety rarely left the field for Estancia, only missing one game after he injured his ankle while playing running back during a nonleague game. Haywood returned in time for the Battle for the Bell rivalry game, which the Eagles won for the third straight year against Costa Mesa. Haywood was a bruising hitter, finishing with 75 tackles, one sack, one interception, three fumble recoveries and one forced fumble. He earned first-team All-Orange Coast League honors.
K/Corona del Mar
The senior kicker gave CdM another offensive weapon with his left foot. Amies converted 22 of 30 field-goal attempts, tying the state single-season record for field goals made by Chris Sailer of Notre Dame Sherman Oaks in 1994. Amies made a school-record 52-yard field goal against Western and nine of his field goals were from at least 40 yards out. He converted 45 extra-point kicks and recorded 26 touchbacks. He earned first-team All-Orange County honors and the Pacific Coast League Kicker of the Year award.
P/Corona del Mar
The junior punter always seemed to put CdM's defense in great position by pinning the opposition deep in its own end. Napolitano averaged 41.2 yards per punt and he placed 13 punts inside the opponent's 20-yard line. He recorded two 60-yard punts, one in the Battle of the Bay rivalry game and one in a Pacific Coast League game, and a 59-yarder in the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Southern Division playoffs. He earned second-team All-Pacific Coast League honors.