CdM's Cool Hand Luke

Daily Pilot High School Football Player of the Week

Senior quarterback has persevered through adversity at home and led Sea Kings back to CIF Southern Section final.

December 06, 2013|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza

Countless kids in Newport Beach have decided to attend a private school to play sports.

Luke Napolitano was one of those kids.

Napolitano had a big right arm. He took it to JSerra to use it on a football field and on a mound. The second never happened.

During his freshman year, he went through a lot off the field. Leaving home at 6 a.m. to get to the school in San Juan Capistrano and then coming home after practice at 7 p.m. grew tiring. None of it felt worth it to Napolitano.

Everything at home began to change and he wanted to leave the school after the first semester. His once tight-knit family was breaking up. His father and mother were going through a divorce.

The ordeal hit Napolitano, the youngest of three kids, the hardest.

"I wanted to be home with my friends and I didn't want to go out and try and meet new people," Napolitano says. "I wanted to be home."


He came home in the spring of 2011. He transferred to Corona del Mar High to be around his childhood friends and to spend more time with his parents.

Adjusting to his new life wasn't easy. He spent one week with his mother, Linda Scott, and the next at his father Augie Napolitano's house.

He always felt as if he was on the move, like checking in and out of hotel rooms. Then the one-week stays became a routine. There were still times he forgot his clothes or schoolwork at his mom or dad's place.

The hardest part was dealing with his emotions.

Looking back, Napolitano says he's glad he made the move to be closer to family and friends. He's in his senior year and he's happy now.

And that big arm of his, he has finally been able to put it to good use.

No longer is he just kicking the ball as a punter. He's the starting quarterback at CdM.

For two seasons, he waited for his chance. In his first year as the signal caller, Napolitano has led CdM back to the CIF Southern Section Southern Division title game.

The top-seeded Sea Kings (13-0) play second-seeded Garden Grove (13-0) on Friday at Orange Coast College at 7 p.m. The contest is a rematch of last year's finale.

The last time these teams met, Napolitano didn't get on the field much, just three times as the punter.

"It feels really special," Napolitano says of being able to contribute more this time around. "I just want to slow it down and take in as much as possible.

"It's like no other sports team I've ever been on."

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