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Alder might start at QB again

FOOTBALL: One final game before league begins gives Sea Kings added confidence in resting injured Hughes.

October 06, 2006|By Dominic Perrone

With a one-game buffer in between the Corona del Mar High football team and the start of the four-game Pacific Coast League season, Coach Dick Freeman feels confident in resting quarterback Taylor Hughes, who has a sore shoulder from the 14-6 win over Newport Harbor Sept. 21.

Freeman doesn't want to take any chances tonight when the Sea Kings (3-2), ranked No. 4 in the CIF Southern Section Southern Division, take on Villa Park (2-2) at 7 at Newport Harbor.

"If there is anything wrong, we'll sit [Hughes]," Freeman said. "It's getting better. He threw a little bit [Wednesday]. Not much. He probably won't play depending on a big improvement. There's just a lot of soreness."

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It also doesn't hurt that Freeman has junior Hunter Alder as the backup option. Alder was nine for 15 for 101 yards and two touchdowns in the 38-7 victory over South El Monte last week.

"[Alder] works hard and he's a good athlete," Freeman said. "He plays basketball and baseball. That helps. The pressure doesn't seem to bother him."

Alder also is buoyed by a deep and talented receiving corps. Hunt Rychel is cleared to play after sustaining a concussion Sept. 15 against Troy. Rychel is now battling strep throat.

Freeman said the receiver probably won't receive much playing time and that he is frustrated.

"He's on antibiotics," Freeman said. "There has been a flu-like thing going around."

But, Corona del Mar's passing game has never been a one-man show.

Since the game of Rychel's injury, Steven Hillgren has caught 10 passes for 211 yards and four touchdowns.

"He's a good leader and a good athlete," Freeman said of Hillgren. "He's a hard working guy. He's really conscious about including others. He's an excellent person. Probably everyday the coaches are in there watching tape, he's in there, too."

Sea Kings quarterbacks have connected with 10 different receivers and six — Ford Noe, Max Haase, Will Brown, Ali Meshkin, Rychel and Hillgren — have five or more catches on the season.

The CdM ground game was also rejuvenated against South El Monte, producing the most yards since Week 1 against Laguna Beach.

Will Brown led the 152-yard effort with 112 yards on 17 carries.

On defense, CdM has surrendered just 13 points the past two games.

Freeman said senior outside linebacker Tom Folks is the key to Corona del Mar's five-linebacker defense that also features Noe, Austin Ray, Erik Rask and Kevin Rask.

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