CORONA DEL MAR
•Corona del Mar High's perfect season isn't over.
The Sea Kings claimed an unprecedented third straight CIF Southern Section Southern Division title with a 42-21 victory against Garden Grove on Friday at Orange Coast College. The result extended CdM's school-best winning streak to 24 games and earned the program a berth into its first CIF State Southern California Regional Division III Bowl Game.
"It's awesome," said Coach Scott Meyer, who in his third year in charge of the Sea Kings has led them to three CIF Southern Section Southern Division titles, two Pacific Coast League titles and a 38-4 overall record. "Each year it's the same. It's a new team and a great bunch of guys who have been working hard for this for a long time."
The Sea Kings (14-0) return to OCC on Saturday to face Ojai Nordhoff (13-1) at 7:30 p.m. Nordhoff advanced by beating El Segundo, 49-21, in the CIF Southern Section Northwest Division championship.
CdM and Nordhoff are playing for a trip to the CIF State Division III Bowl Game at the Stubhub Center in Carson on Dec. 21. CdM or Nordhoff will get to meet the winner of Saturday's CIF State Northern California Regional Division III Bowl Game between Atherton Sacred Heart Prep (12-1) and El Cerrito (12-2).
•With the game tied, 14-14, at halftime, two players sparked top-seeded CdM and made sure it, not second-seeded Garden Grove, stayed undefeated.
Sophomore tailback Anthony Battista and junior defensive end Parker Chase led the way with huge second-half performances as the Sea Kings knocked off the Argonauts in the Southern Division final for the second straight year.
Battista rushed 10 times for 143 yards and one touchdown in the final two quarters and Chase recorded four sacks.
"Parker has been playing great for us all year long," Meyer said. "Battista was incredible running the ball. Great vision and made some huge runs for us.
"Cole [Martin has] been our workhorse [at running back] all year long, and [on Friday] just [Battista] had the hot hand for whatever reason. It's great to have both those guys in the backfield."
Battista and Martin gave CdM a 14-0 lead in the first 7 1/2 minutes on 20- and 15-yard touchdowns runs, respectively. The carry was Battista's lone in the first half in which Martin rushed seven times for 35 yards.
In the second half, Battista and Martin pretty much split the carries. And Battista made a difference right away at the start of the second half.
The Sea Kings received the second-half kickoff and Battista capped a six-play, 64-yard drive with a dazzling 41-yard touchdown run, giving CdM a 21-14 lead.
"We just needed to score on the first drive," said Battista, who would be heard from again.
After Chase registered back-to-back sacks, forcing Garden Grove, which trailed, 28-21, to punt with 6:59 left to play, Battista helped put the game away.
On the ensuing possession, CdM handed it off to Battista on its first six plays and he produced 62 yards, getting CdM to Garden Grove's two. From there, quarterback Luke Napolitano snuck in for a touchdown with 3:33 left.
"The line just opened up great holes and I just ran through them," said Battista, who finished with a career-high 163 yards on 11 carries. "[I] just read my blocks and the line did a great job out there."