At the end of a historic season in late December, reporters asked Coach Scott Meyer about next year. Can his football team repeat a perfect season?
The Sea Kings had just beaten Atherton Sacred Heart Prep, 27-15, in the CIF State Division III Bowl Game to become the first team in the state to produce a 16-0 season. Meyer, standing inside the tunnel at the StubHub Center in Carson, tried not to look ahead.
"We're not going to think about that for a little while," Meyer said back then, before going into the number of starters expected to return, 10 on defense and five on offense, and the challenging nonleague schedule next season.
Meyer lost one of those key players to one of the teams CdM will face in five months. Sophomore standout tailback Anthony Battista is transferring to Tesoro, said Meyer in a text on Friday.
When asked about his thoughts on Battista leaving CdM, Meyer did not respond via text. While he backed up star running back Cole Martin, a member of the CalHiSports.com All-State Medium Schools Third Team for juniors, Battista contributed to the Sea Kings' postseason run. Battista, in six playoff games, recorded almost half of his 1,052 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground.
Battista, whose role was as a change-of-pace back, turned in his best performance in the CIF Southern Section Southern Division title game at Orange Coast College. He rushed 11 times for 163 yards and two touchdowns, allowing CdM to knock off Garden Grove, 42-21, and claim the section crown for an unprecedented third straight season.
For the season, Battista, a second-team All-Pacific Coast League performer, carried the ball 153 times and averaged 6.8 yards per carry. In the playoffs, he bumped up his yards-per-carry average to 7.9.
Meyer said Battista has checked out of CdM. Battista could not be reached for comment, but on his Twitter account, Battista posted goodbyes to a couple of friends at CdM. UCLA-bound senior Giovanni Gentosi, who as a center blocked for Battista last season, said Battista told him he's moving to the Rancho Santa Margarita area.
Next fall will be interesting, as Battista is set to face his former teammates when Tesoro plays host to CdM on Sept. 26. The Sea Kings will enter next season with 26 consecutive wins, the longest current winning streak in the state.
To keep the streak alive, the Sea Kings will have to do it without Battista, and hope he doesn't get in their way of another flawless season.
— David Carrillo Peñaloza