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CdM defense does trick

High School Football

Junior-dominated Sea Kings come up big with interception, three fumble recoveries in state title game win.

December 21, 2013|By Matt Szabo
(KEVIN CHANG / Daily…)

CARSON — Corona del Mar High football defensive coordinator Dan O'Shea is not one to beat around the bush.

The Sea Kings had a historic run this season, including their third straight CIF Southern Section Southern Division title. They didn't stop there. There they were Saturday afternoon at the StubHub Center, competing in the CIF State Division III Bowl Game just four days before Christmas.

CdM became the first team in state history to finish 16-0 after defeating Atherton Sacred Heart Prep, 27-15. The reason why was simple to O'Shea.

"As a coaching staff, we feel that we coach the best kids in the state of California," O'Shea said. "They show up every day with a work ethic that's unprecedented."

O'Shea has done a lot of winning. He spent six successful years at Trabuco Hills, where he still teaches U.S. history, before coming to CdM in 2011. As far as unprecedented accomplishments, this year's defense at CdM just might be one of them.

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Since All-CIF senior starting linebacker Alex Moore tore his ACL in late September, the Sea Kings have started 10 juniors on defense.

Nope, that's not a misprint.

Meet linemen Parker Chase, Mat Flores, Justin Hess and Harrison Carter. Say hello to linebackers Hoyt Crance, Robbie Hoffman and Hugh Crance, as well as defensive backs Barrett Barbato, Brett Greenlee and Chad Redfearn. Safety Charlie Griffin was the only senior starter on defense.

They say age is nothing but a number, and O'Shea isn't going to argue that.

"Last year, we started seven sophomores [on defense] in the [CIF Southern Section Southern Division] title game," he said. "But these kids can play. We don't care if they're a sophomore, junior or senior. We don't look at the class, we look at if they can play, and these kids buy into the culture that we've established."

The defense helped CdM take a 21-0 lead in the first quarter on Saturday. Barbato gave the Sea Kings the three-touchdown edge when he jumped a route to intercept Gators quarterback Mason Randall. Fifty-eight yards later, he was in the end zone with 11 seconds left in the quarter.

"I was getting a little curl drop in," said Barbato, who led CdM with 10 tackles Saturday. "The quarterback was looking straight at the [receiver], and I guess he didn't see me. Right when he threw it, I just jumped up, got it and took it in."

Sacred Heart Prep steadied itself and was down just 21-15 headed into halftime. The Gators got the ball to start the second half, too, so they appeared to have momentum.

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