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Sea Kings settle for tie

Corona del Mar battles back from first-half hole, but Northwood forces tie in PCL opener Thursday.

October 14, 2010|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza, david.carrillo@latimes.com
(Don Leach / Daily…)

NEWPORT BEACH — The first 33 minutes of Corona del Mar High's Pacific Coast League opener looked gloomy.

A player with the last name "Gray" almost got the Sea Kings out of the dark.

Brent Gray caught only five passes, but he made three of them account for huge touchdowns against Northwood Thursday night. Gray's 27-yard touchdown grab midway through the fourth quarter gave the Sea Kings their first lead of the game.

The lead did not hold up as CdM and Northwood finished in a 29-29 tie at Newport Harbor High. CdM Coach Jason Hitchens said he preferred to see a winner, but added before the season that the coaches in the league voted against overtime in league play.

"I guess it's better than a loss," Hitchens said with a smile.

Hitchens will take the tie after going winless in league last season.

The Sea Kings faced one of the newest members to the Pacific Coast League. Northwood looked as though it might treat the Sea Kings the same way the rest of league's teams did last year.

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The Sea Kings rallied from a 15-point deficit in the second half to put an end to a five-game losing streak in league dating back to last season.

The Sea Kings entered the home game with an extra week to prepare, but they struggled with the basics in the second quarter.

Getting the ball to the quarterback proved problematic for the Sea Kings (4-1-1, 0-0-1 in league), ranked No. 5 in the CIF Southern Section Southern Division poll.

After center Max Priestley went down with an injury at the end of the opening quarter, the backup center snapped the ball over quarterback Mitch Gardner's head twice in shotgun formation, and sailed one over the head of the punter.

The eighth-ranked Timberwolves (3-2-1, 0-0-1) took advantage of one of the miscues late in the first half. They jumped out to a 22-7 lead on the second three-yard touchdown hook-up between quarterback Ricky Bautista and tight end Tyler Perkins.

At one point, CdM trailed, 8-7, six seconds into the second quarter, when Gardner lofted a perfect eight-yard pass to Gray in the corner of the end zone. Gray leaped to make the catch and came down in bounds before celebrating the touchdown with Gardner.

The good times ended for Gardner, as the Sea Kings replaced the senior after he struggled with a snap for the second time before halftime.

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