Two longtime rivals who once were league foes meet tonight in the second week of the prep football season.
Laguna Beach and Corona del Mar, once members of the Pacific Coast League, go head-to-head at Davidson Field on the Newport Harbor High campus. Game time is 7 p.m.
“This is a good game for us,” Laguna Beach Coach Jonathan Todd said. “They’re a good football team that is sound everywhere. It’s a good challenge for us.”
The Breakers and Sea Kings, who last were league rivals in 2005, will meet for the 19th time in a series that began in 1962. Laguna won the first three meetings and also the 1985 game, but hasn’t won since. Corona del Mar leads the series, 14-4, and has won nine straight.
The teams have met consecutively since the 1999 season.
Laguna opened its season Sept. 5 in Coronado and suffered a 34-0 defeat to the Islanders. Todd said that while the Breakers came up short in several areas in the game, he did take away some positives from the loss.
“We’re physical and we were getting through,” he said. “The kids are much tougher this year and not afraid to hit. It’s just a matter of perfecting how we tackle.
“That’s one area that we need to work on. We missed some tackles in the Coronado game. We had some early pass coverage breakdowns, too, and our pass protection wasn’t there. Those are the other areas we’ve addressed in practice this week.”
Laguna fell behind early against Coronado and couldn’t make up a 20-0 first quarter deficit. Zach Smith was Laguna’s top offensive performer with 81 yards rushing on 18 attempts.
While Laguna was falling to Coronado, Corona del Mar, had little problem with Costa Mesa.
The Sea Kings spotted the Mustangs a 3-0 lead then ripped off 55 straight points en route to a 55-3 victory. Junior running back JD Abbott rushed for 204 yards and three touchdowns to lead the torching.
Senior Max Haase scored twice, once on a fumble return for a touchdown, the other on a TD reception from quarterback Mitch Sands, who also threw a touchdown pass to Noah Molnar.
The Breakers played their opener last weekend without junior starting free safety Alec Jaffe, who was out with a hip injury. Todd said that Jaffe took part in practice this week, but is “tentative” for tonight’s game.
Todd, a former All-CIF player at Laguna, is 1-1 as a player and 0-1 as head coach in the series with the Sea Kings.
“I’m excited about it and the kids are, too,” he said of tonight’s game. “I run into guys who I used to play against from CdM all the time and I try to play that up to the kids, telling them that it will be the same for them, too.
“This game will come down to who wants it more.”
MIKE SCIACCA covers sports. He can be reached at (949) 494-4321 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.