High Schools: Albers set to earn scholarship

Andrew Albers is moving up the depth chart with the University of Utah football program. And the 6-foot-8, 285-pound lineman from Costa Mesa High is not even on the college campus yet.

The senior plans to leave next month for Utah, where Albers' father, Frank, said the Utes are thin on the offensive line.

"They're down four or five offensive linemen now," said Frank, who was with his son last weekend, when Andrew decided to join Utah as a preferred-walk-on player. "[The coaches] said they usually know when they're going [to lose a player because of] missions, and they had no idea this [other] kid was going [on one]. He just came in and said, 'I'm going on a mission.'

"They had another [player ruled] ineligible. Right now, they have three tackles."

Because of the lack of depth at the position, Frank said Utah has Albers slated as its No. 2 right tackle.

The jump gives Albers, a two-time Daily Pilot Newport-Mesa Dream Team pick, a great opportunity to earn a scholarship with the Utes. Frank said his son's decision to walk-on at Utah, which just joined the Pacific 12 Conference, will turn out to be the best.

"We always went into it thinking, no matter what happened, he's probably going to have to redshirt his first year because he needs to get stronger, but because of their situation [at offensive line], they're pretty dire," Frank said. "Unless they said he just quits, [Andrew will receive a scholarship]. As long as he works, puts his time in the weight room, and does his part.

"It's probably for him a better path [than walking on at UCLA]. The other good part is there's less distractions [in Salt Lake City]. There's not a lot going on."

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Two straight losses cost the Corona del Mar High boys' basketball team an outright Pacific Coast League title.

Will closing out the regular season with its first league losses cost CdM a top four seed in the CIF Southern Section Division III-AA playoffs? The Sea Kings, ranked No. 3 in the final coaches' poll, will learn if that is the case today.

The CIF Southern Section plans to release its playoff pairings today. The Division III-AA pairings are set to be online at http://www.cifss.org at 12:40 p.m.

Coach Ryan Schachter said he does not expect CdM to earn one of the four seeds, not after what happened to the Sea Kings earlier this week. Twice in a three-day span, he saw his team suffer a major upset.

The second one dashed the Sea Kings' back-to-back outright league title hopes.

Beckman pulled off a 62-58 stunning win at CdM in the regular-season finale on Wednesday, forcing the Sea Kings to split the league crown with University. The Trojans were the first team to knock off CdM, ending the Sea Kings' 19-game winning streak in league by blowing them out, 81-60.

The league loss was Schachter's worst in five seasons at CdM. The Sea Kings and Trojans finished 8-2 in league play.

Schachter has to be shaking his head at his Sea Kings, who went 17-9 overall. How can a CdM team that has played one of the toughest nonleague schedules in the state this season drop a game to a Beckman team that went into Wednesday with a 7-18 record?

Schachter said half of his team went into the week sick. But the setback to Beckman has to be a major disappointment for the Sea Kings, especially heading into the postseason next week.

The Sea Kings looked like serious section title contenders before this week. The road for CdM winning its first section title since Schachter led the school to one in 2006-07 is going to be more daunting.

"Now it's going to be hard for us to do what we have to do," CdM senior forward Marcus Bradley said. "We can't blame anyone ... but ourselves."

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Estancia and Costa Mesa are the area's two other boys' basketball teams that earned automatic postseason berths.

The Eagles, who finished second in the Orange Coast League, are in the Division IV-AA playoffs. Coach Agustin Heredia expects Estancia (16-11, 7-3 in league) to play host to a first-round game.

The Mustangs (11-15, 5-5) will hit the road in the first round of the Division V-AA playoffs after they finished in third place behind Estancia in league.

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