Sailors Fall to CdM in Record-Setting Battle of the Bay
The 57th edition was the first for Newport Harbor head coach Peter Lofthouse. Now there’s a better understanding of what the Battle of the Bay is all about – no holds barred.
Corona del Mar never let up and dominated the annual rivalry classic behind a school record-setting performance by Sea Kings junior quarterback Ethan Garbers, who’s seven touchdown passes propelled a 63-14 victory Friday night at Davidson Field. Garbers broke the record of 6 TD passes he shared with his older brother Chase Garbers, now a redshirt freshman playing for Cal.
In addition to the CdM passing attack, Harbor was victimized on special teams and by the defense. CdM quickly scored points following a first quarter fumble recovery, a successful onside kick to open the second half, a blocked punt returned for a touchdown and an interception also returned for a second half score.
It was the sixth-straight win for the Sea Kings (7-1-1, 3-0-1) in the always-anticipated Battle of the Bay, and first as a new member of the Sunset League. Newport Harbor (3-5-1, 0-4) looks to break a 4-game skid and earn a league victory when it faces Fountain Valley next week in the regular season finale.
“This is a learning experience for me, I’m new to the Battle of the Bay, this is my first one and there’s a lot of great things to learn from this game,” Lofthouse reflected. “The environment was great. I really appreciate the crowd coming out and supporting the team the way they did.”
CdM opened the scoring on its second possession as Garbers hit junior John Humphreys with a one-yard touchdown pass, the first of two scoring connections between the pair Sea Kings underclassmen that are both division-1 college prospects. The combination produced a 57-yard TD in the second half as Humphreys finished the night with seven receptions for 110 yards and the two touchdowns. Tight end Mark Redmon also caught two touchdown passes covering 32 and 50 yards.
“Miscues are gonna happen when you’ve got two great players like that,” Lofthouse said while noting his defense played well for long stretches of the game. “We tried double covering them at times and they still made plays, so you gotta give them a lot of credit for that. Garbers did a good job of extending plays with his legs and he did that. Can’t take away everything with them, they are a very good football team.”
More painful for the Sailors was the loss of sophomore starting quarterback Lavin, ColeCole Lavin to a broken left collarbone late in the second quarter. After leading Harbor on an 11-play, 62-yard scoring drive that resulted in a 2-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver McCrory, RoryRory McCrory, Lavin and the Sailors offense appeared to build some momentum. On the next possession however, Lavin was driven in to the ground after a short scramble. Although he stayed in the game and completed his next pass, Lavin retreated to the sideline as the injury became evident.
“Losing Cole was definitely a big shot that hurts a lot,” Lofthouse said. “He had been developing some rhythm within the offense, he’d been improving week in and week out, so to lose him before the last game is one that will sting for a while.”
The better news is that Lavin’s x-rays show a clean break to his left, non-throwing shoulder, an injury that is highly treatable with an approximately 8 week recovery period. It’s expected he will have no lingering effects.
Lofthouse was pleased that his team never threw in the towel despite the tsunami of Sea Kings scoring. Senior captains Cruz, RaphaelRafael Cruz, Brian Baily and Phillips, JackJack Phillips continued to make impactful plays on defense and the offense rallied late behind back-up quarterback Testa, AndrewAndrew Testa to give the Tar faithful something to cheer about late in the 4th quarter.
On the Sailors final possession, Testa completed eight of ten passes driving the team 60 yards for the final score of the night. On a 4th and 9 play, Testa hit McCrory with a 12-yard touchdown pass to close the night. Lavin finished 10 of 19 passing for 76 yards and a touchdown. Junior Goltz, AidanAidan Goltz was the leading receiver with four catches for 67 yards. Keliikoa, JakeJake Keliikoa was Harbor’s top rusher with 17 yards on four carries before leaving the game with a recurring left knee injury.
Lofthouse said it’s unclear how they’ll assess the quarterback position for the final week. McCrory started one game at quarterback earlier this season before switching to receiver when Lavin emerged as the starting QB. Junior Clay Liolis also started at quarterback in the first two games before shifting to tight end.
Sailors Take Aim at Sea Kings in 57th Battle of the Bay
Whether a season-maker or a back-breaker for Newport Harbor, the 57th edition of the Battle of the Bay presents an intriguing opportunity for Tar football. The rebuilding Sailors (3-4-1, 0-3) have already surpassed last season’s win total but are still looking for their first league win under first-year head coach Peter Lofthouse.
Perennial power Corona del Mar (6-1-1, 2-0-1) joined the Sunset League this season and is locked in dog fight for first place with defending champ Los Alamitos, both top-10 teams in the weekly OC Register high school power rankings. The Sea Kings are the designated home team for the 2018 rivalry classic; the Sailors crowd will be seated in the visiting bleachers.
“Corona del Mar has a high-powered offense. We’ve got to be able to make tackles in space; we’ve got to be able to cover their receivers. They’re going to be very much catch and throw, they’re going to try to chuck it all over the field,” Lofthouse expects.
“Offensively we’ve got to be able to run the football, we’ve got to be able to just execute. In order for us to have a good shot and beat Corona del Mar, we’ve got to play four quarters and a complete game, and that’s something we’re still learning to do,” he said. “ Hopefully we can put it all together for the Battle of the Bay.”
David versus Goliath is an agonizing sport cliché, but it’s actually an appropriate metaphor for this game. The young & developing Sailors are showing promise, with just enough taste of success to build some confidence, yet swallowing more than enough defeat to recognize reality. Harbor has lost three straight, all league games, including last week’s 40-10 loss at Edison.
The Sea Kings, in their 8th year under head coach Daniel O’Shea, are a fully-grown football program that has ruled the Back Bay for the last five years. After a season-opening 49-7 loss to JSerra, CdM ripped off five straight wins before last week’s weather-shortened 7-all tie against Los Alamitos.
CdM features a fast-paced, quick-strike passing offense that averages 28 points per game, including last week’s weather-shortened 7-all tie against Los Alamitos. Junior quarterback Ethan Garbers has thrown for over 2,100 yards and 26 touchdowns, 19 of them to highly-recruited junior wide-out John Humphries. Sophomore Jason Vicenzo is the team’s leading rusher, averaging 60 yards per game.
The Sailors’ season has been a blend of optimism and inconsistency. The defense is anchored by senior captains Phillips, JackJack Phillips, Spence, ConnorConnor Spence and Galdamez, GabrielGabe Galdamez on the front line along with linebackers Bailey, BrianBrian Baily, Koste, ChadChad Koste and Brigandi, JohnnyJohnny Brigandi. The young secondary has suffered from growing pains with personel changes and assignment miscues. The unit should be more stabilized as senior captain Cruz, RaphaelRafael Cruz returns to a more fulltime role coming off an injury.
The Harbor offense has shown progress since sophomore quarterback Lavin, ColeCole Lavin took over as the starter in week four. Lavin led the team to two fourth quarter comebacks in his first two starts, with more than a little help from standout junior receiver Goltz, AidanAidan Goltz. Sophomore runningback McCoy, JustinJustin McCoy ascended to the starting role after injuries to senior Gregg, CollinCollin Gregg and junior Keliikoa, JakeJake Kelliikoa. McCoy has handled the position more than capably with both his tough inside running and as a pass receiver out of the backfield.
The receiving corps also includes seniors McCrory, RoryRory McCrory and Bell, LantzLantz Bell along with junior Lemmon, RichardRichard Lemon contributing receptions. Junior tight end Liolios, ClayClay Liolis is expected to return from an injury which will provide extra size and strength to the Sailor’s line. The young unit is continuing to develop and a cause for optimism for the Sailors future.
What: 57th Battle of the Bay
Newport Harbor at Corona del Mar
When: Friday, October 19, 7:00 pm
Where: Davidson Field at Newport Harbor High School