Corona del Mar High’s second game against Beckman on the same field did not turn out like the first one between these two Pacific Coast League football teams.
The latest outcome cost the Sea Kings their season.
Second-seeded CdM lost to the Patriots, 24-3, in the semifinals of the CIF Southern Section Southern Division playoffs at Tustin High on Saturday night. The Sea Kings exited the semis for the second time in three years under Coach Jason Hitchens.
Hitchens led the Sea Kings to a 10-2-1 overall record and the program’s first outright league title in 22 years after going 4-0-1 in league play.
“I’m proud of the kids,” said Hitchens, whose senior-laden team is only the fourth team at CdM to produce at least 10 victories in a season. “I thought the seniors played really well and represented CdM and the community really well. There were only four teams playing and we were one of them.”
Beckman, which avenged a 17-15 loss to CdM in the regular-season finale, faces top-seeded Garden Grove (12-1) on Friday.
*The defense kept the Sea Kings within striking distance against Beckman, forcing a turnover on downs in the first half, and intercepting a pass and recovering a fumble in the second half.
The defense, led by senior lineman Alex Herrera (four tackles for losses) and junior linebacker Aaron White (one interception), just spent too much time on the field.
CdM’s offense did not help the defense out by scoring a season-low three points. The Sea Kings were unable to sustain any drives after their second one of the game, which resulted in a 23-yard field goal by Andrew Boehm that put CdM up, 3-0, six seconds into the second quarter.
“I don’t think we were blocking well up front,” said Hitchens, adding that it affected the ground and passing games, two areas in which CdM had 24 yards rushing and 107 yards passing.
“I thought that we did a really good job shutting down the run. They were throwing the ball more. The first time around, they were kind of determined to run the ball. This time, they conceded a little bit more. Most of their [big] pass plays were on third-and-long and fourth-and-long, where we just know it’s a pass situation and we didn’t make plays in those situations and we should have.”
*Clay Reinhardt usually makes plays for CdM by catching and running with the ball.
But the senior carried the ball just once, gaining one yard, and had only one reception, going for 16 yards.
Reinhardt contributed more as a punter. He recorded a 66-yard boot, pinning Beckman inside its own 10-yard line with 4:08 left to play in the first half. He helped the Sea Kings go into halftime only down, 7-3. Reinhardt punted six times, averaging 41 yards per punt.
Reinhardt made his first start since Hitchens said he suffered a mild concussion in the Sea Kings’ 21-13 opening-round victory against Ocean View.
— David Carrillo Peñaloza