The momentum appeared to shift toward Sacred Heart Prep, which would open the second half with the ball. The Gators didn't have it for long, though.
Randall fumbled the ball on third down and CdM defensive end Parker Chase recovered it on the Gators' 31. The turnover led to CdM Jason Neiger's 31-yard field goal.
"They were pushing us back pretty hard," said Chase, referring to Burr-Kirven, who finished with 77 yards on seven carries, and the Gators' offensive line. "After I got that fumble, we started stopping them."
The Sea Kings' defensive unit pounced on another fumble in the third quarter. Justin Hess, a lineman, fell on the ball after a bad handoff exchange by Randall to Andre Segre. The Gators turned the ball over inside CdM's 20-yard line.
Thirty-three seconds into the fourth quarter, CdM came away with its third fumble of the second half. Hugh Crance, an outside linebacker, recovered a bad pitch by Randall to Burr-Kirven near midfield. The turnover led to a 35-yard field goal by Neiger, who made it 27-15 with 7:11 left.
For the last time, CdM made another defensive stand inside the red zone to pitch a shutout in the second half. Sacred Heart Prep turned the ball over on downs for the second time.
The rest of the way, the Sea Kings ran Cole Martin, who finished with 155 yards on 28 carries, and backup Anthony Battista, who finished with 67 yards on 12 carries. The two running backs, behind left tackle Ian Redman, left guard Michael Pierotti, center Giovanni Gentosi, right guard Brett Olson and right tackle Quinn Bassler, allowed CdM to run out the clock and make history.
"We knew they were a physical team," said Gentosi, who made his 44th and final varsity start of his three-year CdM career. "We knew that as an offensive line we just had to control them and just give it everything we have, [with it] being our last game ever … for all us seniors."
The senior-laden offensive line paved the way in the second half, as CdM rushed for 169 of its 266 yards in the last two quarters.
While Gentosi is one of seven senior offensive starters graduating, three junior receivers, St. Geme and Cole Collins, both of whom finished tied for CdM's single-season receptions record of 60, and Max Chozen will return, along with Martin, a junior, and Battista, a sophomore.
Ten of the 11 defensive starters are juniors. CdM will see Chase and Hess return on the defensive line, along with Harrison Carter and Mat Flores, and twin linebackers Hugh and Hoyt Crance, and Robby Hoffman are coming back, as are three members of the secondary, Barbato and cornerbacks Brett Greenlee and Chad Redfearn.
With all that talent expected back on both sides of the ball, including on special teams with Neiger, a sophomore kicker, the Sea Kings can find themselves back next year making another run this late in the season.
"We're not going to think about that for a little while," said Meyer, whose team deserves to celebrate as much as it wants after wrapping up a flawless season on the road with a little rock and roll.
CIF State Division III Bowl Game
Corona del Mar 27, Sacred Heart Prep 15
SCORE BY QUARTERS
SHP 0 – 15 – 0 – 0 – 15
CdM 21 – 0 – 3 – 3 – 27