COSTA MESA — Friday night marked the first time under the lights for two coaches in charge of their new high school football teams.
Even though it was a scrimmage, the evening offered Corona del Mar's Scott Meyer and Costa Mesa's Wally Grant a chance to evaluate their players in game situations. There were plenty to play through before the two programs kick off the season on the road on Sept. 2.
From how the teams looked at Jim Scott Stadium, the Sea Kings are more in harmony. Makes sense since the Sea Kings are going into the season ranked fourth in the CIF Southern Section Southern Division poll.
The Mustangs have some work to do if they want to crack the poll.
On the ground and through the air, CdM produced big plays in the first half, scoring the first 26 points before beating the hosts, 33-21. With new starters at running back and quarterback, Meyer more than liked the Sea Kings' balanced attack.
Senior Erik Fisher scored on touchdown runs of 38 and 26 yards in the first half and senior Brent Lawson threw two 34-yard touchdown passes.
Fisher ran wild in the first half, recording 105 yards on six carries. He ended the night with 152 yards on 10 carries.
Lawson finished with 135 yards and three touchdowns on six-of-eight passing. He spread the ball around, connecting with five players. He found senior wide receiver Cole Cottrell twice for scores.
"The offense looked really sharp," Meyer said.
The Sea Kings' defense was just as astute, shutting out the Mustangs in the first half.
Senior linebacker Aaron White led the unit, which contained Costa Mesa running back Mario Smith in the first two quarters. White tackled Smith behind the line of scrimmage a couple of times.
Smith's helmet even popped off after the Sea Kings stopped him on a fourth-and-short situation late in the second quarter.
No one was catching the transfer from Silverado High of Victorville on the first play of the third quarter. On one play, Smith doubled his rushing total from the first half.
The senior took a handoff near the 20-yard line and then went right before he exploded down the CdM sideline for an 80-yard touchdown. He ended the Sea Kings' shutout bid.
Grant joked that the team ran the same play 15 times in the first half, but it never worked because of the lack of blocking.
"As you can see, he's got a step," said Grant of Smith, who finished with 130 yards on 12 carries. "I'm not going to be able to hide him."