SAN DIEGO — When the Corona del Mar High football team broke camp earlier this month, Coach Scott Meyer joked that the Sea Kings might make a weekend out of the first game in San Diego.
The opener was set at the start of Labor Day weekend. He talked about visiting the Del Mar racetrack, SeaWorld and Legoland the next day.
The game took place Friday night in the Under Armour Brothers in Arms Classic against Carlsbad La Costa Canyon at Cathedral Catholic. By the time it ended, a little after 7, with CdM posting a 38-0 shutout, someone asked if Legoland was still open.
For a bunch of teenagers, there was no need to go play with plastic bricks in nearby Carlsbad. The Sea Kings want to add to what they have already built, one of the top programs in the state.
Corona del Mar won its 27th straight game, the best active winning streak in California. The Sea Kings, the defending CIF State Division III champions, turned in a dominant performance in all facets of the game. They usually have during their impressive run. Only two teams have hung with the Sea Kings during the stretch, losing by single digits.
The latest opponent stood no chance against CdM, ranked No. 47 in CalHiSports.com's preseason state poll. La Costa Canyon became the ninth team CdM has blanked in the last 27 games.
"We didn't expect this," Meyer said of blowing out the Mavericks. "We had a lot of respect for them and they looked good on film."
In person, La Costa Canyon, a CIF San Diego Section Division 1 program, fell apart at the start. The Sea Kings, who this year move up to the CIF Southern Section Southwest Division, which is equivalent to Division 4, took advantage of La Costa Canyon's issues early on.
The first chance the Mavericks had to run a play from scrimmage, the offense was called for a false start. The Mavericks got the next play off, but they went backward again. Safety Barrett Barbato brought down tailback Cade Jackson for a three-yard loss.
The CdM defense, with 10 returning starters, stifled La Costa Canyon throughout. The Sea Kings limited the Mavericks to 70 rushing yards.
The defensive line produced four sacks, Parker Chase registered two, and Harrison Carter and Justin Hess one apiece. Outside linebacker Hugh Crance picked off two passes. The first interception set CdM up on the opponent's 10-yard line late in the first half, allowing the Sea Kings to go into halftime with a 24-0 lead.
"[Our defense wanted to] kind of ease our offense in, because we have a couple of new guys on the offensive line," Crance said.
The young offensive line, with only one senior, won the battle against the Mavericks. Left tackle Jack Pagliassotti, left guard Joe Anderson, center Bryan Samudro, right guard Arwin Rahmatpanah and right tackle Mitch Dean protected quarterback Peter Bush.
Bush, a first-year starter, completed 14 of 20 passes for 176 yards and two touchdowns. Helping the offense was the great field position it received because of CdM's defense and the foot of Daniel Bjurman, who pinned the Mavericks inside the 10-yard line twice with punts, kicked three of his five touchbacks out of the end zone, and forced a fumble on a kickoff return.
The field position belonged to the Sea Kings in the first half. They started in Maverick territory four times, half the drives led to touchdowns. The first one featured Bush hooking up with wide receiver Bo St. Geme on a 15-yard pass early in the opening quarter. The second score saw Bush's backup, Chase Garbers, rush in from three yards out late in the first half.
Both quarterbacks saw action for CdM, each rushing for a score, Bush on a 12-yard run 3 minutes into the second quarter. The longest touchdown run came on the legs of tailback Cole Martin, who rushed nine times for 95 yards and finished with three catches for 33 yards. Martin, a senior, ripped a 77-yard run 65 seconds into the second half. The Sea Kings increased their lead to 31-0.
Bush's night ended in the third quarter, a series after he threw his second touchdown. On third-and-goal, he rolled to his right and found receiver Dylan Tucker on a 17-yard pass. With the 38-point lead, there was a running clock at the start of the fourth quarter. Garbers, a sophomore, reentered, and he and Bush might share the quarterback duties. Bush, last year's backup, is more than OK with that.
"We want to get him experience," Bush said of Garbers, who completed his only pass, a five-yarder, and rushed four times for five yards. "We really want to go at this, you know, me and him, working at this together to win a championship."
The goal is to win titles, a third straight in the Pacific Coast League, and one in a new division. The Sea Kings, winners of the last three CIF Southern Section Southern Division crowns, are ranked No. 1 in the Southwest Division preseason poll.
Meyer isn't sure if the championship runs will feature two quarterbacks every week. One thing he was confident about on Friday was that the Sea Kings weren't sticking around in San Diego this weekend. They have work to do.