ANAHEIM —The Corona del Mar High football team blew off more than steam after suffering its first loss of the season last week.
The Sea Kings returned to the field Saturday night and blew out Magnolia, 52-13, at Western High. It is hard to believe CdM actually trailed after the first play from scrimmage went for a touchdown in the nonleague game.
CdM (4-1), ranked ninth in the CIF Southern Section Southern Division poll, responded with a much-needed victory after losing the Battle of the Bay last week at Newport Harbor.
The Sea Kings head into a bye next week before opening Pacific Coast League play. Coach Jason Hitchens is not a big fan of taking a break before league.
Hitchens is well aware of what happened after the Sea Kings had their bye before the league opener last year. They went winless in league for the first time since 1997.
The fashion in which the Sea Kings competed against Magnolia (0-4), they would prefer to play next week. CdM looked in sync on offense, producing its most points since Sept. 11, 2009, when it hammered Laguna Beach, 65-34.
The Sea Kings managed to move the ball without running back Jeff Condino, who is out with a shoulder injury. They ran Erik Fisher 13 times, and the junior, who usually plays wide receiver, topped 100 yards for the first time.
Fisher finished with 163 rushing yards and one touchdown.
Quarterback Mitch Gardner threw three touchdown passes and completed 12 of his 23 passes for 115 yards. Even his backup, Brent Lawson, threw a touchdown, an 87-yard strike to wide receiver Brent Gray, in the fourth quarter.
Beside Magnolia's first play from scrimmage that resulted in an 80-yard touchdown pass and a 71-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, CdM's defense dominated. The Sea Kings came up with four turnovers (three interceptions and one fumble) and shut out the Sentinels in the second half.
The game opened with a little trickery. A team without a win desperately needed a big play for a spark.
Magnolia got it when its best player, Devante Bates, lined up at quarterback while in shotgun. After getting the snap on the first play from scrimmage, Bates quickly tossed it to his left to Adeel Akbar, who came around from his receiver spot.
Akbar, who is listed as a quarterback on the Sentinels' roster, planned to throw. With the defense buying the run, the Sea Kings left De'shon Norris all alone. Akbar hit Norris near midfield and Norris easily scored on an 80-yard pass play, putting Magnolia ahead, 7-0.
Fourteen seconds into the game, the Sentinels led at the start for the first time since the season opener.
The same way that first contest ended, Magnolia wound up losing big. The Sea Kings scored 52 of the game's next 58 points.
CdM used a balanced attack in the first half. Gardner sandwiched two touchdown passes in between an Andrew Boehm 33-yard field goal to help the Sea Kings go ahead, 17-7.
On the ensuing possession, Bates did his best to get Magnolia back in the game. He gained a first down on third-and-one before bouncing off a would-be tackler and racing toward the sideline.
The defense stood no chance of catching the speedy Bates, who scored on a 71-yard run. He cut the deficit to four points two minutes into the second quarter.
CdM quickly responded with three big runs, the longest turned in by Clay Reinhardt. The senior's previous carry went for a three-yard loss. The second one went for 30 yards and a touchdown as the Sea Kings began the rout.
The defense forced the Sentinels to turn the ball over for the second time in the second quarter. Defensive back Austin Jones intercepted a pass in the end zone, his second on the night.