COSTA MESA — The first thing Coach Graham Forman made sure of was that his Mariners Elementary boys' soccer team had the right ball.
The man who had the answer walked off the field after officiating a match on Wednesday. The referee helped Forman out by checking the ball.
The ball was legal and Mariners was ready to open Pilot Cup competition in the fifth- and sixth-grade gold division. There was just one problem for Harbor Day.
The ball seemed to stay with Mariners at all times.
Travis Campos gained possession in the first couple of minutes and made good use of the ball during the short time.
Campos recorded a goal in the first and second minute and added another late in the first half to lead Mariners to a 6-1 victory at the Costa Mesa Farm Complex. The start to the tournament was a quality one for Mariners.
At no point was Campos worried about the outcome.
"Ever since the beginning, with the first goal, and the second, and the third goal, pretty confident about this game," Campos said.
When the fourth and fifth goals came, Mariners looked ahead. The team plans to make a run at the title.
Forman knows the championship goes through Rea, the defending champion. His players caught the end of Rea's match, which resulted in a lopsided score.
Watching Rea motivated Mariners against Harbor Day. Remember, Rea beat Mariners, 5-1, last year in the semifinals en route to winning the division for the fourth straight season.
Mariners might be as dangerous as Rea this year. Offensively, Mariners is potent.
By halftime, Mariners led Harbor Day, 5-1. Campos' twin brother, Dylan, beat the goalkeeper with a shot between his legs and Sean Harper came off the bench to produce a goal.
Forman believes Mariners and Rea might meet before the finale again. And he is looking forward to a rematch.
"Revenge will be really sweet," Forman said. "They're a great team. There's a little bit of a side story. Their coach, [Ryan] Baker, his wife [Ann Marie] is one of the teachers at our school. There's always that little bit of a rivalry."
Forman also coaches one of the players at Rea during the club season.
That player is Bryant Reyes and he came over after Rea's match and wished Forman good luck. It is not as if Mariners needed it, but Forman said he was unsure about his team, whether it was as skilled as last season's.
Mariners answered that question right away. Mariners took care of business.
In the second half, when Jack Faber scored to give Mariners a five-goal lead, the team played keep away. Mariners showed off its passing skills, to the chagrin of Harbor Day's assistant coach.
Harbor Day suffered its first loss in the tournament after winning its opener on Tuesday.
Harbor Day did avoid the shutout. Jon Wirta found the back of the net right before halftime.
"The first thing one of the boys said when we came off the field was, 'We didn't get shut out,'" Harbor Day Coach Ray Ricci said. "There's a lot of pride in these boys."