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HIGH SCHOOL PLAYOFFS : WATER POLO : Mitchell, Coronado Sink Poway in Final

In the crisp air at the La Jolla Jewish Community Center Saturday night, Randy Burgess, Coronado High’s water polo coach, was only too happy to shiver.

Burgess had been pushed into the pool by his players following Coronado’s 11-9 victory over Poway, which gave the Islanders the San Diego Section championship. Burgess, whose teams have won four CIF titles in 6 seasons, took the plunge fully clothed and smiling.

“It was sweet,” Burgess said. “I couldn’t feel anything.”

This was a special championship for Burgess, achieved by players he said weren’t blessed with the talent of some on his previous teams. As they proved Saturday, they weren’t lacking desire.

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“There’s no way we should have beaten those guys,” Burgess said. “They were so much bigger and stronger.”

Tom Mitchell, among others, would have none of that thinking. Mitchell is Coronado’s center forward. He patroled the waters in front of Poway’s goal like a hungry shark, feasting on Titan defenders for 6 goals.

Mitchell gave Coronado (25-4) leads of 2-0, 3-0, 5-1 and 6-1 with first-half goals. Then, after Poway (22-3) mounted a late charge in the fourth quarter, he took a pass from Brian Kissell and punched the ball in the net with 12 seconds remaining to give the Islanders an 11-8 lead.


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