IRVINE — Someone walked over to Coach Scott Meyer during the football game to explain the overtime rule in the Pacific Coast League, just in case Corona del Mar High played overtime.
The rule changed from last year, when the league did not have overtime when two teams were tied at the end of regulation.
Meyer was just happy the Sea Kings didn't get to overtime on Thursday night.
His defense didn't allow Northwood to tie CdM for the second straight year in a league opener. The Sea Kings hung on for a 17-10 victory at Irvine High.
The road to CdM defending its league title began on a positive note in Meyer's first season in charge.
The Sea Kings (5-1), ranked No. 1 in the CIF Southern Section Southern Division poll, looked rusty at the start, falling behind, 10-0. They were coming off a bye week, whereas No. 7 Northwood (2-4) played last week.
"It was hard coming off the bye week," Meyer said. "A bye week and then a short [week and playing a] Thursday game, I felt like it took us a while to get in sync.
"We kept their offense on the field in the first half. We just couldn't get them off the field."
When it mattered most, CdM kept a high-powered Northwood offense on the sideline for much of the second half.
The Sea Kings pounded quarterback Ricky Bautista all night, dropping last year's league offensive MVP 10 times for sacks. The senior almost went the first 21 minutes of the first half without moving the chains.
The first time the Timberwolves earned a first down was with 3:03 left to play. It came at the start of Northwood's last drive to tie the game. Northwood was down seven.
The Sea Kings gave up two more first downs and they had enough, growing frustrated. Meyer said one of his defensive linemen was flagged 15 yards for saying something after a play, moving the Timberwolves to CdM's 25-yard line with around two minutes to go.
The line then let its play do the talking.
The Sea Kings buried Bautista on three straight pass plays. First, it was Tim Reinhardt sacking Bautista , followed by back-to-back sacks by linebacker Aaron White.
It was over when White flew in on fourth-and-27 to knock Bautista down near midfield.
"[They] didn't have much of a run threat," said White, who led his team with four sacks. "We knew that we had to get pressure on the quarterback and just like make him feel the pain."
Bautista, who finished with 218 yards and one touchdown on 18-of-23 passing, surely felt the hits.
Those weren't the only things that hurt Bautista. He lost his top wide receiver Tyler Zorn with a broken collarbone on a reverse flea-flicker pass right before halftime.
Three plays later, the Sea Kings forced Bautista to go to someone else and he turned the ball over for the first time. Defensive back Ryan Griffin intercepted a pass in the end zone, allowing CdM to go into halftime down just 10-7.
At the start of the fourth quarter, with Northwood past midfield, Bautista fumbled on an option play. Linebacker Grant Garrett recovered the fumble.
The turnover led to CdM handing the ball to running back Erik Fisher, who finished with 157 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries. Fisher helped the offense chew more than seven minutes off the clock on the drive, which resulted in three big points for CdM.
Instead of leading by four, the Sea Kings went ahead, 17-10, on kicker Luke Napolitano's 41-yard field goal with 3:10 to go.
"He had some [tough] kicks [in a 29-26 loss] against [Newport] Harbor [on Sept. 23]," Meyer said. "For him to come back and nail that one, I was so proud and happy for Luke."
Northwood now needed a touchdown and extra-point kick to tie CdM and force overtime. The Sea Kings rose to the occasion, shutting down the hosts for the last three quarters.
Corona del Mar 17, Northwood 10
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Northwood 10 - 0 - 0 - 0 – 10
CdM 7 - 0 - 7 - 3 – 17
NW – King 39 pass from Bautista (Nellesen kick), 8:57.
NW – Nellesen 32 FG, 2:59.
CdM – Fisher 3 run (Napolitano kick), :00.
CdM – Fisher 4 run (Napolitano kick), 5:07.
CdM – Napolitano 41 FG, 3:10.
NW - Damasco, 3-14.
CdM - Fisher, 25-157, 2 TDs.
NW - Bautista, 18-23-1, 218, 1 TD.
CdM - Lawson, 7-15-2, 151.
NW – Zorn, 5-89, 1 TD.
CdM – Johnstone, 1-41.