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Corona Del Mar’s Prolific Senior Pass-Catch Duo Thinking Big

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Corona Del Mar’s Prolific Senior Pass-Catch Duo Thinking Big

Corona Del Mar's quarterback Kaleb Annett (11). (David Woolbert/David Woolbert Photography)

Dan Wood

Dan Wood

8/29/2023

Updated: 8/29/2023

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif.—Given what they have accomplished through two games this season, perhaps it’s no surprise that Corona del Mar High School “best friends” Kaleb Annett and Russell Weir harbor lofty expectations.
The dynamic senior quarterback-wide receiver combination, the latest in a long line for the Sea Kings, will lead Corona del Mar in quest of a third consecutive victory at 7 p.m. Aug. 31 against Palos Verdes at Newport Harbor High.
Annett and Weir are coming off big performances last week in a 41–24 triumph over visiting Cypress. Annett completed 15 of 26 passes for 294 yards and four touchdowns, including two to Weir, who finished with eight catches for 169 yards.
“The goal is ultimately to go 16–0, win that state championship,” Weir told The Epoch Times. “There are 14 more games.”
The Sea Kings don’t have to look far for examples of what they hope to accomplish.
Corona Del Mar's wide receiver Russell Weir (8). (David Woolbert/David Woolbert Photography)

Corona Del Mar's wide receiver Russell Weir (8). (David Woolbert/David Woolbert Photography)

At halftime of the game against Cypress, Corona del Mar honored its 2013 team that became the first in California high school history to finish 16–0 en route to winning a state championship. Its 2019 squad followed suit with another 16–0 campaign and a state title.
Annett, who committed earlier this summer to play college football at Boise State, has thrown for 517 yards and seven touchdowns in two games, including a season-opening 34–23 victory over Downey.
“The only thing I’m focused on right now is CDM football, winning a state championship, and getting ourselves a ring,” Annett told The Epoch Times. “That’s the only thing. I’m excited to get to Boise State, but I’m ready to win a bunch more games with these guys.”
Corona Del Mar's quarterback Kaleb Annett (11). (David Woolbert/David Woolbert Photography)

Corona Del Mar's quarterback Kaleb Annett (11). (David Woolbert/David Woolbert Photography)

Annett had to be good against Cypress, given the presence of Centurions quarterback Aidan Houston on the other side. The multi-threat senior “was Superman,” according to a post-game social-media post from his coach, Rick Feldman. Houston threw for 246 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 141 yards and another score.
“That Houston kid is special,” Sea Kings Coach Kevin Hettig told The Epoch Times. “He’s a problem throwing it and running it. They do so many good things, getting him space. That was two very good Orange County quarterbacks right there, two guys that are going to be playing football on Saturdays down the road for sure.”
Junior tight end Zach Giuliano also caught two touchdown passes from Annett, a 38-yard strike in the second quarter and a 13-yarder that extended a Corona del Mar lead to 27–17 late in the third period.
Sandwiched around Giuliano’s second score were two huge Sea Kings defensive stands. On both occasions, Corona del Mar stopped Cypress on downs, the second time thanks to a fourth-down quarterback sack by senior linebacker Christian Brooks.
Corona Del Mar's tight end Zach Giuliano (81). (David Woolbert/David Woolbert Photography)

Corona Del Mar's tight end Zach Giuliano (81). (David Woolbert/David Woolbert Photography)

Senior safety Thomas Telesco later sealed the victory with a 55-yard interception return for a touchdown.
“The defense made stops when they had to in the second half,” Mr. Hettig said. “When I look at our ceiling, we have to kind of evaluate how we played and get better. That’s the only thing that matters now.”
Certainly, Annett and Weir figure to play huge roles if the Sea Kings are to remain on a championship path. The chemistry the two share is readily evident.
“It started freshman year, him throwing the rock to me, putting it in places where no defenders could get it,” said Weir, whose touchdown receptions covered 64 and 16 yards. “We just built up that connection for all the years. He’s my best friend. It’s great, growing up together.”
Corona Del Mar's wide receiver Russell Weir (8). (David Woolbert/David Woolbert Photography)

Corona Del Mar's wide receiver Russell Weir (8). (David Woolbert/David Woolbert Photography)

In addition to Weir, who has 17 catches for 310 yards and three touchdowns in two games, Annett benefits from a further comfort level provided by his coaches.
Mr. Hettig is in his first season as Corona del Mar’s head man, but served as associate coach and oversaw the offense the past eight years under former Coach Dan O’Shea.
Nick Starkel, the quarterbacks coach and passing-game coordinator, also has a wealth of experience. He played collegiately at Texas A&M and Arkansas before quarterbacking San Jose State to the 2020 Mountain West Conference championship.
“Coach Starkel and Coach Hettig and I are bouncing ideas off each other all the time,” Annett said. “Coach Starkel brings so much knowledge that I never knew before I met him. I couldn’t imagine anybody like him.”
Given all that, Annett and Weir figure to be a handful for any opposing defense.
“They’ve put in a lot of time,” Mr. Hettig said. “Yeah, those guys get it, for sure.”
Dan Wood

Dan Wood

Author

Dan Wood is a community sports reporter based in Orange County, California. He has covered sports professionally for some 43 years, spending nearly three decades in the newspaper industry and 14 years in radio. He is an avid music fan, with a strong lean toward country and classic rock.

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