CdM aims to protect throne

Throughout the Corona del Mar High campus, Scott Meyer sees construction. There are new parking lots paved and classrooms built.

Ever since Meyer came to the school last year to coach football and teach social studies, it seems it has been under construction. He is waiting for the school to renovate the football field.

The field needs lights, a new playing surface and bigger bleachers, so his Sea Kings can play Friday night games right on campus, instead of at Newport Harbor.

In Meyer's office, there is a drawing of what that stadium might look like.

"Hopefully the future, kind of the dream," said Meyer, knowing it might take many years and legal battles for the school to build a stadium.

At least his football program isn't in rebuilding mode. The Sea Kings are looking to defend their CIF Southern Section Southern Division title.

The Newport-Mesa area had never seen a high school football coach lead a team to a section crown in their debut season until Meyer showed up from Long Beach. A second section title in Meyer's second season is not out of the picture.

"The last team here to win one [before us] went back-to-back [in 1988-89]," Meyer said with a smile. "But we have a lot of work ahead of us."

The road to a title defense is long and rough.

No other school in the area has claimed consecutive section titles. One school that tried was CdM's Back Bay rival, Newport Harbor, which won in 1999 and lost the following year.

The Sailors are also one of only two teams to beat CdM last year. The other was Beckman. In those two games, the Sea Kings lost the city and Pacific Coast League championships.

Those setbacks taught CdM one thing: No lead is safe.

Meyer said the Sea Kings let the Battle of the Bay against Newport Harbor slip away. The reverse happened against Beckman. The Sea Kings rallied late before losing, 42-37, in the league finale.

In the rematch, CdM and Beckman met for the championship that really mattered. While the Patriots prevented CdM from going back-to-back in league, the Sea Kings won the section title, and for the second straight year, Beckman fell short in the big game.

The Sea Kings are contenders again, despite losing standouts on both sides of the ball, including quarterback Brent Lawson, the All-CIF Southern Section Southern Division Offensive Player of the Year, and linebacker Aaron White, the All-CIF Defensive Player of the Year.

Thirty-five players from CdM's lower-level programs, which went a combined 18-2 last year, move up to varsity. Meyer is counting on the younger players to produce because gone are six All-CIF performers.

The only All-CIF member to return for CdM is Tim Reinhardt, a 6-foot-3, 235-pound senior defensive end. He is one of five defensive starters coming back. Several Pacific 12 Conference programs are recruiting Reinhardt, who anchors the 3-3 stack defense.

The offense will be without its signal caller in Lawson, who set CdM single-season records for yards (2,519), touchdown passes (27) and completions (153) last year as a senior. The next quarterback to run the Sea Kings' spread offense is senior Cayman Carter.

"He's pretty similar to Lawson, strong arm and [can] run a little bit," said Meyer, who believes he has the blueprint of a quarterback that can take CdM to the top again.

Twitter: @DCPenaloza

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