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Sea Kings to be battle tested

New coaches will rely on seniors to make run in league and CIF Southern Section Southern Division.

September 01, 2011|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza, david.carrillo@latimes.com
(Daily Pilot File…)

On the last double day at Corona del Mar High, Coach Scott Meyer planned a bonfire at the beach with 17 seniors and his staff.

The number of seniors was smaller than on last year's football team. That just meant there weren't as many mouths to feed.

Nine days before CdM kicked off the season, the seniors and coaches gathered to bond.

"It's another special deal for these seniors to remember," Meyer said.

Meyer's first year at CdM is the final one for the seniors at the school. The new coach and veteran players plan to make the season a memorable one.

Expectations are high at CdM, which enters the season ranked fourth in the CIF Southern Section Southern Division poll. There is someone new in charge, but the goals are the same.

Contend for a Pacific Coast League title. Make a run at a section title.

Does Meyer have the talent, four starters return on offense and five on defense, to reach the objectives?

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He believes the Sea Kings can defend their league crown and get over the playoff hurdle the team has stumbled at recently. The Sea Kings' season ended in the semifinals in two of the past three seasons under Jason Hitchens.

"That is obviously the goal," Meyer said of leading the Sea Kings to a section final appearance, their first in 22 years.

"I might be a little biased, but I believe [the Pacific Coast League] is the toughest league in that division. They had three teams [from our league] in the semis last year and I wouldn't be surprised if that happened again."

The pollsters have four teams from the Pacific Coast League in the top five in the Southern Division.

Beckman, last year's section runner-up, is No. 1, Northwood, a semifinalist last season, is No. 3, and Woodbridge is No. 5. The Sea Kings are in the mix and they expect to be at the end.

The following are the players who hope to keep CdM in the hunt.

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Quarterback: Brent Lawson moves up to starter in his senior year. He leads the spread offense, which Mitch Gardner ran well last year.

Last season, Lawson backed up Gardner, a Daily Pilot Newport-Mesa Dream Team pick, who led the area with 1,635 yards and 19 touchdowns through the air.

Gardner helped the Sea Kings to a record of 10-2-1 overall, 4-0-1 in league. The 10-win season was the fourth in the program's history. The outright league title was CdM's first since 1988.

Lawson, a 5-foot-11, 180-pounder, might have as much success out of the shotgun formation.

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