In January, Coach Jason Hitchens said his Corona del Mar High football team talked about a 14-game season.
The Sea Kings are one victory away from reaching their goal.
Second-seeded CdM advanced to the semifinals of the CIF Southern Section Southern Division playoffs after blowing out Anaheim, 35-0, in a quarterfinal Friday at Estancia High. The trip to the semis is the second in the last three years for the Sea Kings under Hitchens.
The Sea Kings (10-1-1) are playing a familiar team in Beckman (7-5) on Saturday. The Patriots qualified after defeating Loara, 59-42, in the quarterfinals.
The two Pacific Coast League teams met in the regular-season finale on Nov. 12, when CdM held on to a 17-15 road victory against Beckman at Tustin High, ensuring itself its first outright league title in 22 years.
Beckman, an at-large entry into the playoffs, plays host to the second game against CdM. The game is at Tustin High at 7 p.m.
The winner moves on to the championship game against either top-seeded Garden Grove (11-1) or Northwood (8-3-1), another Pacific Coast League team. The Sea Kings are trying to make their first section final appearance since 1989.
*Mitch Gardner enjoyed his finest outing as CdM's quarterback Friday.
The senior completed 18 of 26 passes for 270 yards and three touchdowns, with no interceptions. Gardner also scored on a one-yard touchdown run. Gardner completed passes to six players.
For the season, Gardner has thrown for 1,528 yards and 19 touchdowns and he has only eight interceptions.
*Clay Reinhardt, a wide receiver/running back, sat out the first half of CdM's quarterfinal game.
Hitchens said the senior suffered a mild concussion in the Sea Kings' 21-13 opening-round victory against Ocean View.
"We kind of kept him out of practice most of the week," Hitchens said. "He was cleared [to play against Anaheim]. We didn't really want to use him unless we had to. We got him in a little bit just to make sure to keep the rust off of him."
Reinhardt had a nine-yard touchdown reception and carried the ball three times for 36 yards in the second half.
With Reinhardt missing most of the game, running back Erik Fisher carried the load for CdM.
The junior finished with 74 yards and one touchdown on 19 carries. Fisher also had four catches for 68 yards and one touchdown.
*Hitchens delivered a message to his defense prior to the Sea Kings' quarterfinal game against Anaheim.
"Hey, it's going to be a physical game and we've got to stop their run attack," Hitchens said.
The Sea Kings went out and pitched their first shutout of the year.
The defense recovered five fumbles and shut down Anaheim running back Hector Rico.
The senior went into the game averaging 101 yards and one touchdown per game. Rico finished with zero yards on eight carries.
Led by linebackers Aaron White and Preston Risser, CdM held the Colonists to fewer than 100 yards on offense.
— David Carrillo Peñaloza