Corona del Mar High wrapped up its year with the ultimate gift: a perfect season.
The Sea Kings' historic football season concluded right before Christmas, as they claimed the CIF State Division III Bowl Game with a 27-15 win against Atherton Sacred Heart Prep at the StubHub Center in Carson Saturday afternoon. The result secured CdM's place in history as the first high school football team in California to finish a season 16-0.
Coach Scott Meyer led the Sea Kings to their longest season in school history. Along the way, CdM won a second straight Pacific Coast League title and a third straight CIF Southern Section Southern Division title, and a CIF State Southern California Regional Division III Bowl Game title.
"I think we all feel good now. It might hit us after [Saturday]," said Meyer, who in his three years in charge of the Sea Kings has posted a 40-4 overall record. "The kids kept us energized and it's a great bunch to coach."
Meyer even kept the coin that was used during the coin toss. An official handed it to him afterward.
•Corona del Mar pushed its winning streak to 26 games. The Sea Kings tied Los Alamitos and Mission Viejo for sixth-longest winning streak in Orange County history.
The Sea Kings' 26-game winning streak is currently the longest in the state. Concord De La Salle held the title with 40 straight victories, until it lost to Bellflower St. John Bosco, 20-14, in the CIF State Open Division Bowl Game at the StubHub Center on Saturday night.
Before St. John Bosco attempted to become the second team in the state to produce a 16-0 season, Meyer was asked if he was going to root for De La Salle.
"We got some friends on the St. John Bosco staff, so we're going to pull for those guys," said Meyer, who didn't stick around for St. John Bosco's 8 p.m. game against De La Salle.
•Twenty-one are the number of points CdM scored in the first quarter against Sacred Heart Prep.
To put the amount in perspective, the Gators had only allowed three teams to score 21 or more points against them in their previous 27 games in the last two years.
"It was great to jump out to that 21-0 lead, because in a game against a team that good, it's not something you really expect," said Meyer, who in the opening quarter saw quarterback Luke Napolitano throw a five-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Bo St. Geme and tight end Connor Sage, and safety Barrett Barbato return an interception 58 yards for a touchdown.
Even with CdM's fast start, Meyer said he knew it wasn't over. In the second quarter, CdM turned the ball over and punted for the first time and each led to Sacred Heart Prep touchdowns.
Two linebackers hurt the Sea Kings. Andrew Robinson, playing defense, returned an interception 37 yards for a touchdown, and then Ben Burr-Kirven, playing offense, rushed for a 47-yard touchdown. They cut the deficit to 21-15 at halftime.
•The second half is when CdM's defense elevated its play, recovering three fumbles and making two defensive stands in the red zone.
Corona del Mar defensive lineman Justin Hess forced Sacred Heart Prep quarterback Mason Randall to fumble 1 1/2 minutes into the second half. Parker Chase, a defensive end, recovered the ball on the opponent's 31.
The turnover led to Jason Neiger's 31-yard field goal, giving CdM a 24-15 lead with 7:37 left in the third quarter.