Corona del Mar rides offense of Ethan Garbers to title
The prolific offense of the Corona del Mar High football team produced a near-perfect performance when the Sea Kings needed it the most.
The result was a Southern Section championship and a measure of atonement.
Corona del Mar scored touchdowns on each of its first eight possessions and beat Simi Valley Grace Brethren 56-28 in the Southern Section Division 3 championship game Friday night at Newport Harbor High.
The Sea Kings had lost to the Lancers in last year’s Division 4 title game, but this time they denied Grace Brethren’s attempt for its third straight title. Grace Brethren also won Division 8 in 2017.
University of Washington-bound senior quarterback Ethan Garbers completed 23 of 30 passes for 294 yards and four touchdowns for the Sea Kings. Three of the touchdown passes went to Stanford-bound receiver John Humphreys, who had 11 catches for 144 yards.
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Corona del Mar (14-0), which will play in a CIF State Southern California regional bowl game next week, also had four rushing touchdowns. Garbers had three of them for the third straight game.
The Sea Kings, appearing in their third championship game in four years, won their sixth Southern Section title and first since 2013.
Julien Stokes had three touchdowns for the Lancers (12-2), two rushing and one on a reception.
Corona del Mar went 67 yards in 11 plays on its opening drive for a touchdown. Garbers, who was six for six passing on the drive, ran it in on fourth-and-goal from the two-yard line.
Grace Brethren answered with its own methodical drive. On the second play of the second quarter, Josh Henderson powered it in on a one-yard touchdown run.
The Sea Kings added two more rushing touchdowns, a 52-yard burst by Riley Binn-quist and another two-yard run by Garbers, to take a 21-7 lead. But the Lancers responded as junior quarterback Mikey Zele, rolling right, found Stokes in the end zone for an eight-yard touchdown with 45 seconds left in the half.
Grace Brethren’s Dillon Walia recovered a pooch kick, but the Lancers were unable to score again, and Corona del Mar took a 21-14 lead into halftime.