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CdM's title shot denied

Sea Kings eliminated after Beckman takes control in second half to advance to Southern Division final.

December 04, 2010|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza, david.carrillo@latimes.com
(Kent Treptow / Daily…)

TUSTIN — No coach wants to face a familiar strong opponent from their league twice in a span of four games. When that second game is in the playoffs, after that foe sneaked its way into the postseason, it makes it that much more difficult.

Jason Hitchens was in that predicament as coach of the Corona del Mar High football team on Saturday night. The goal was to reach the 14th game of the season.

The Sea Kings were stopped one game short by Beckman.

The season ended on the unlucky No. 13 as an at-large entry upset second-seeded CdM, 24-3, in the semifinals of the CIF Southern Section Southern Division playoffs at Tustin High. The trip to the semis was the Sea Kings' second in the last three years under Hitchens.

It was understandable why Hitchens looked disappointed after his Pacific Coast League champion Sea Kings lost to the Patriots, the fifth-place team in league.

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"You're so close you can taste it," Hitchens said of advancing to the section championship game.

"[The Patriots] went from being done with their season to a coin toss [helping them receive a playoff at-large entry] and they're in the finals."

Beckman will make its section final debut after avenging a 17-15 loss to CdM on the same field in the regular-season finale.

The Patriots (8-5) used a stout defensive effort and surprising strong passing performance from quarterback Cameron Biedgoly to end the Sea Kings' eight-game unbeaten streak.

A season-low three points was not enough for CdM (10-2-1) to return to a section finale for the first time in 21 years.

"I don't think we played really well," said Hitchens, whose offense managed only 131 yards and turned the ball over twice. "It makes it really difficult to win a football game when you can't put points on the [scoreboard].

"The defense was on the field a lot again like we were the first time around [against Beckman], but at least the first time around we were able to put some points on the board."

The Patriots face top-seeded Garden Grove (12-1) in the championship game next Friday, most likely at Orange Coast College. The Argonauts advanced with a 35-21 semifinal victory against Northwood Friday.

Biedgoly, who emerged as the starting quarterback in October, led the way for Beckman. He threw for 261 yards, completing 17 of 27 passes, a handful going for first downs on critical third-and-long situations.

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