HUNTINGTON BEACH — Scott Meyer's led a high school football team to Huntington Beach High before as the head coach.
He returned Friday night in charge of a new program, Corona del Mar. The latest visit was just as successful and as close as the one four years ago.
Meyer survived another nailbiter in Huntington Beach, as the Sea Kings came back twice to beat the Oilers, 28-21.
"Our guys just never quit," Meyer said. "We just kept battling and kept battling with them."
The resiliency paid off for CdM, which improved to 2-0 in Meyer's first season with the school.
The game came down to the wire. Running back Erik Fisher scored the go-ahead touchdown with 25 seconds left to play. The one-yard run was the senior's second rushing score of the night.
Fisher finished seven yards short of his second straight 100-yard game. But the yards that mattered most were the 22 he recorded on the game-winning drive.
Quarterback Brent Lawson engineered the drive after linebacker David Moore recovered a fumble on CdM's 36 with 5:28 remaining in the fourth.
The turnover was the Oilers' first and it led to CdM — ranked No. 4 in the CIF Southern Section Southern Division poll — defeating the Sunset League team for the second straight year.
Lawson, who finished with 224 yards and two touchdowns, completed two passes, the biggest a 23-yard hook up with wide receiver Troy Reese. The play put CdM on Huntington Beach's 36. The Sea Kings chewed up time, running seven straight times.
With little time left and quarterback Michael Chislock struggling to complete passes, Huntington Beach stood no chance at mounting a comeback. The Oilers (1-1) made it near midfield before time expired.
"Defensively, our guys were fast and aggressive," said Meyer, whose Sea Kings only allowed Chislock to complete six-of-25 passes for 80 yards.
The only times it seemed Chislock was successful was when the Oilers faced fourth-down situations in CdM territory.
Twice on those situations, the Sea Kings allowed two touchdowns in the first half.
With the game tied at 14 at halftime, the two offenses combined for zero points in the third quarter. Then Chris Ogilvie scored his second one-yard touchdown run with seven minutes left and the Oilers regained the lead at 21-14.
Lawson answered right away. He hit receiver Cole Cottrell on a 75-yard touchdown pass to tie the game. Cottrell finished with 123 yards on five catches.
The play was the biggest by Cottrell since the game's opening kickoff. The senior returned the kickoff 58 yards to the Oilers' 39.
With great field position, CdM failed to take advantage. The Sea Kings started the game the same way they did last week in the season opener, failing to put up any points on the scoreboard on their first drive.
Hurting the team was an illegal substitution penalty before a field-goal attempt. Instead of trying a 40-yarder, Grant Garrett booted a field goal from 45 yards out and missed it.
The special teams let down the Sea Kings again in the first quarter and it cost them points again.
Getting off the punt proved problematic for CdM. On a do-over, the Sea Kings forgot to block Ramon Vargas, a hurdler who qualified for the CIF State track and field finals last season.
Vargas didn't hurdle over any blockers to get to the punter. He just sped right past them, coming from the edge to block a punt. The ball bounced around and Vargas picked it up on CdM's 33 before going down seven yards later.
The defense appeared to hold Huntington Beach. On fourth-and-four on the 20-yard line, the Oilers went for it. Not just for a first down, but a touchdown.
Chislock floated a pass toward the back of the end zone to Nolan Biegel and the tight end got underneath the ball to give the Oilers the game's first score.
Lawson found his touch early in the second quarter. He worked his magic on third down, twice keeping the drive alive by converting first downs with passes to Cottrell. The Sea Kings then went to the ground, handing it to Fisher. He scored on a 22-yard run to tie Huntington Beach, 7-7.
The Sea Kings' defense did its job in the first half. At one point, CdM didn't allow a first down during a 17-minute stretch.
The reason for Huntington Beach's inability to move the chains was due to CdM stopping the run. When the Oilers tried to throw, Chislock kept overthrowing intended receivers.