IRVINE — Dense fog rolled in at halftime on Friday night, making it tough to see the players on the football field.
Even with the reduced visibility, Corona del Mar High stood out again on defense in the CIF Southern Section Southern Division playoffs.
No team has been able to score on the Sea Kings in the postseason. Three games have resulted in three shutouts.
The last time CdM held its first three playoff opponents scoreless, it completed back-to-back section title runs 23 years ago. The program is in the same position this year, trying to win a second straight section crown.
The latest team CdM blanked was Woodbridge. The top-seeded Sea Kings won, 25-0, in the semifinals at Irvine High.
A day after Thanksgiving, the Sea Kings stuffed whatever the Warriors ran on offense.
For the second straight week, CdM faced one of the top rushers in Orange County. And it didn't make a difference as CdM is playing for a section title for the second straight year after holding Woodbridge's Austin DeFreitas to 71 yards rushing, almost 100 yards below his per-game average.
The Sea Kings (11-2) earned the right to defend their Southern Division title at
"We're just going to come out and do what we do," CdM defensive end Tim Reinhardt said, referring to a physical brand of defense.
Reinhardt, a leader of the defense, brought it against the Warriors (7-6) all night. Early on, he unloaded on quarterback Matt Callahan, knocking him out of the game.
Before Callahan's pass fell incomplete, he fell hard when Reinhardt hit him. With 3:26 left in the opening quarter, Callahan left the field.
"I got held a little bit and I got a little bit mad," Reinhardt said of the play. "[Callahan leaving the game] helped us slow them down. It kind of threw off their game plan a little bit. We were grateful."
The Sea Kings are happy to be back playing for another section championship. They have made it back with Coach Scott Meyer, who's in his second year with CdM.
Meyer rarely wears last year's CIF ring. He is one win away from getting fit for another.
"We've seen film," Meyer said of Garden Grove, which advanced to its third Southern Division title game in four years after defeating second-seeded Laguna Beach, 35-21. "They played Woodbridge early [during nonleague play and lost, 37-30]. They had the Los Amigos [win in Garden Grove League play and we beat Los Amigos in the quarterfinals]. We were really impressed with them. It's going to be a really good game."
The Sea Kings' second game against Pacific Coast League foe Woodbridge this year turned interesting in the second half.
Credit the fog. At halftime, with CdM ahead, 16-0, it rolled in. Visibility got so bad that Meyer said he kept asking the assistants on top of the press box if they could see the players and coaches on the field.
"They were asking us if they thought we could still throw the ball," said Meyer, whose team didn't really need to air it out much in the second half.
Quarterback Cayman Carter can wait until next week to break the school's single-season completion record of 153 next week. The senior is three completions away.
Carter just handed the ball off to senior tailback Kai Wilson, who was on his way to a 186-yard rushing performance after his 28-yard touchdown run 87 seconds into the third quarter.
The long score was Wilson's second of the game. He scored on a 49-yard run with 3:31 left in the first half.
Fourteen seconds later, the defense got involved in the scoring. Not all of CdM's 86 points in the playoffs have been produced by the offense.
The defense recorded its first postseason touchdown, thanks to a tipped pass by linebacker Hoyt Crance and sure hands by defensive end Greg Williford. The 6-foot, 224-pound Williford intercepted the pass and returned it 21 yards for a score.
The interception was the first of two by the Sea Kings, who came away with three turnovers. Callahan returned to the field with 7:33 left to play after backup quarterback Michael Pritchett struggled throwing the ball, because of his height (5-4) and playing conditions (fog).
The fog in the second half only enhanced CdM's defense, which only allowed 170 offensive yards.
"I thought [the fog] was pretty cool, because we couldn't see their sideline, and we couldn't see their players and their fans," said Reinhardt, who registered a sack. "It was a good feel. It just felt like it was just us on the field."
CIF Southern Section
Southern Division playoffs
Corona del Mar 25, Woodbridge 0
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Corona del Mar 0 – 16 – 6 – 3 – 25
Woodbridge 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 0
CdM – Amies 47 FG, 9:04.
CdM – Wilson 49 run (kick failed), 3:31.
CdM – Williford 21 interception return (Amies kick), 3:17.
CdM – Wilson 28 run (kick failed), 10:33.
CdM – Amies 40 FG, 2:49.
CdM – Wilson, 17-186, 2 TDs.
W – DeFreitas, 16-71.
CdM – Carter, 6-10-0, 43.
W – Pritchett, 7-13-2, 65.
CdM – Reese, 3-29.