In a span of just hours Friday, four Corona del Mar High juniors got both bling and bragging rights.
Hoyt and Hugh Crance, Brett Greenlee and Chad Redfearn, all starters on defense for the CdM football team that won CIF Southern Section Southern Division, CIF State Southern California Regional Division III and CIF State Division III championships last fall, got their championship rings in a ceremony on campus.
Later Friday afternoon, they again started on defense, this time for the CdM boys' lacrosse team against rival Newport Harbor.
There remains no doubt about the champion in this Back Bay rivalry.
CdM dominated the Battle of the Bay game, 13-4, at its home field, winning the rivalry game for the ninth straight year.
The football team started just one senior on defense by the end of the season. The lacrosse team also is seemingly young, with just three seniors, but not necessarily in terms of experience. There are key players from the team that advanced to the U.S. Lacrosse Southern Section South Division final last year, losing to St. Margaret's.
"We have quite a few kids back from last year," said Hoyt Crance, the goalie, who made five saves Friday. "We've been trying to work on our communication, and I think that's helped us progress throughout the year. You kind of know them as a football player, and I guess that kind of helps knowing them as a lacrosse player at the same time. It's really fun."
CdM (6-0) is ranked No. 2 in Southern California and No. 9 in the state by laxpower.com. The defense has been stifling, giving up just more than three goals per game on average.
Hugh Crance, a co-captain with his brother, contributed six ground balls and forced six turnovers against the Sailors. Greenlee, had three ground balls and also forced six turnovers, while Ryan Brown and Jason Simaan added three ground balls each.
Senior Daniel McCabe, Brown and junior Brian Leguay also are defensive leaders for the Sea Kings, who held the Sailors to just two goals late into the fourth quarter.
"We played with a lot of discipline, under control," CdM Coach G.W. Mix said. "It's a good, solid win for us ... [The defense] is a good group. They've been playing together for quite a long time. Some of those kids, this is their third season playing for us. They play well together and they know each other pretty well, which really helps when you're trying to play team defense. Four of those kids play together on defense on the football team as well, so they're used to it, that's for sure."
CdM jumped out to a 4-0 lead after the first quarter as Stephen Von Der Ahe, Sherwin Gersten, Ben Palitz and Simaan all found the back of the net. Palitz, who led the squad with four goals and two assists, added another goal early in the second quarter before the Sailors got on the board on a goal by John Mooers.
But CdM closed out the half strong. Simaan won the faceoff and scored unassisted, then Palitz clanked in a shot off the post before feeding Noah Howe for a goal. Palitz then scored again, giving the hosts a 9-1 halftime advantage.
Howe scored twice, and Nino Chavez, Jay Damon and Nick Yi also scored for CdM. Simaan had a strong game with two goals. More importantly, he won 15 of 17 faceoffs, keeping CdM on the offensive.
"He did a terrific job," Mix said. "He's worked very hard at it, and positioned himself pretty well as one of the top kids in Orange County. We're glad he's on our team."
Newport Harbor (2-6) was more competitive in the second half, as Alex Fuller, Chas Beek and team captain Kole Escher all scored. Senior captain Eli Gutierrez, who Coach Mark Todd said has been playing goalie for just nine months, made 13 saves to make sure the damage wasn't worse.
The Sailors' record is a bit misleading, Todd said, as three of their losses have come in the final minute of the game.
"We're better than our record, and our kids know that," Todd said. "That's fine, because we're going into league play now, and our kids are now hungry. They've learned from their mistakes, hopefully. Hopefully this will carry over to league play, they'll play more impeccable lacrosse and we'll get a win."
CdM, an independent school, plays at former Pacific Coast League foe Beckman on Friday. Newport Harbor opens Sunset League play at Huntington Beach on Wednesday.