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Sea Kings seem to start over

Plenty of changes for CdM, which will not have any two-way starters.

September 01, 2010|By David Carrillo Peñaloza, david.carrillo@latimes.com
(Scott Smeltzer…)

CORONA DEL MAR — Jason Hitchens likes to say the defense is always ahead of the offense at this point of the high school football season.

He hopes to see the offense leap past the defense on Friday night.

When the Sea Kings open the season against Savanna at Newport Harbor High at 7, they are looking to end a five-game skid. CdM did not finish ahead of anyone in its final five games last season.

The offense was futile down the stretch. Plenty of factors contributed to the Sea Kings putting up zeroes twice and finishing Pacific Coast League play averaging 12.2 points per game, and losing every league game.

Erratic quarterback play. Too many players going both ways. The defense's inability to stop anyone.

The Sea Kings enter the season with an inexperienced quarterback for the third time under Hitchens.

The Sea Kings enter the season with 11 starters on offense that will not be part of the 11 starters on defense, a first under Hitchens.

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The Sea Kings enter the season with a defensive coordinator not named Eric Johnson and a defense not named the 3-4, a first under Hitchens.

Mitch Gardner starts at quarterback.

Twenty-two different players start.

Tony Dodge is running the defense and its new scheme, the 4-4.

"I thought there [were] some changes that probably needed to be made for one reason or another," said Hitchens, whose team looks to bounce back from last season, when CdM finished 4-6, 0-5 in league play. "I think the staff overall is one of the better staffs I have ever had. [The 4-4 is] what I've run most of the time I've been a coach. It's probably more diverse than some defenses because it does adjust well to spread offenses. I wasn't familiar with the 3-4 defense as coach Johnson was.

"When you have kids that spend more time on one side of the ball, they can actually get better at the position."

Here is a position-by-position look at the Sea Kings:

Quarterback: Gardner gets the nod as a senior after starting one league game and playing a half in another last season. The passing game was one of the team's weak spots last season.

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