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CdM clinches second

FOOTBALL: Sea Kings somewhat rusty, but set school regular-season scoring record and knock Beckman out of playoffs.

November 14, 2008|By Barry Faulkner

NEWPORT BEACH — This Corona del Mar High football team has scored the most regular-season points of any in the program’s 47-year varsity history. And, with Friday’s 20-10 Pacific Coast League triumph over Beckman at Newport Harbor High, the Sea Kings’ eight wins are the most in a regular season since the 1988 CdM squad went on to finish 12-0-2 and claim a CIF Southern Section Division IV championship.

Now, as they enter the CIF Southern Division playoffs, potentially as a top-four seed, the CdM players and coaches hope all that amounts to more than footnotes and banquet chatter.

That talk after eliminating Beckman (6-4, 1-3 in league) from the playoffs — the Patriots wind up fourth, when a win would have meant a three-way tie for second with CdM and Irvine, which beat University Friday — was about knocking off some rust the Sea Kings accumulated during last week’s bye week.

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“I don’t know if the bye did us much good,” first-year CdM Coach Jason Hitchens said of the Sea Kings (8-2, 3-1), who came in ranked No. 2 in the Division and are hoping to gain one of the top-four seeds when pairings are announced Sunday. “I thought we were clicking pretty well our two games before the bye against Irvine and University [both wins to help secure second-place, behind league champion Laguna Hills]. But, boy, we didn’t seem to be clicking very well tonight. Hopefully, we knocked off a little rust and we’ll be back to the way we were playing for the playoffs.”

Five penalties for illegal procedure and two more for delay of game were atypical for CdM, which also burned one timeout due to a personnel mix up on special teams.

Hitchens also said the passing game was hampered by some timing problems. Senior quarterback Mitch Sands completed 16 of 33 attempts for 171 yards. A handful of would-be completions were dropped by receivers and a tipped pass created a Beckman interception.

Turnovers, however, helped the Sea Kings, who recovered three Patriots fumbles and benefited also from a Noah Molnar interception late in the second quarter that helped preserve a 14-7 halftime lead for the hosts.

Senior Alex Swigert opened the scoring by sprinting 61 yards up the middle on the third play of CdM’s second possession.

Sands capped an eight-play, 72-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter and Andrew Boehm added the conversion kick for a 14-0 cushion.

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