The Battle of the Bay high school football rivalry is special.
The players know each other. Many grew up together and played on youth teams together.
As I found out last year, one player at Corona del Mar can even be best friends with someone at Newport Harbor.
Four years ago, one cousin, Dillon Norton, played for the Sea Kings and another, Parker Norton, for the Sailors. The experience is one families like the Nortons share.
The two programs even share the football field on Newport Harbor’s campus.
With a second-year coach at CdM, there is talk of changing that. Scott Meyer has a rendering in his office of what CdM’s new stadium might look like. It has a new playing surface, artificial turf, bigger bleachers and lights.
The problem the school faces in bringing Friday night lights to campus is its neighbors.
Across town, Newport Harbor Coach Jeff Brinkley wants artificial turf installed on Davidson Field.
“That’s the sad thing,” said Brinkley before the season of the condition of the field’s grass, which is worn down because it never gets a break with other sports programs using it all year round. “We’ve got the best bleachers anywhere. There’s not a better stadium around in terms of a home side and a visitor side for a high school. If they would ever take care of that [field] and [get] an all-weather track, it would be beautiful.”
In Brinkley’s eyes, the stadium is already built. It just needs a surface that can withstand the usage from sports like football, soccer, lacrosse and track and field.
Brinkley said he would like to see both Newport Harbor and CdM unite to bring the kind of artificial turf used at Jim Scott Stadium, home to Estancia and Costa Mesa, to Davidson Field.
The Sailors and Sea Kings meet Friday in the 51st edition of Battle of the Bay game. Let’s hope the two schools can come together soon and renovate the field they share as competitors, friends and even relatives.
Paul Muñoz’s father and mother watched him play volleyball all over the world.
It seemed every time Muñoz competed on the high school level at Mater Dei, on the college level at Long Beach State, and on the international level with the U.S. men’s national team, his parents, Benny and Rose, were in the stands.
Dad and mom nowadays come see their 29-year-old son coach volleyball at Estancia. Benny, 64, and Rose, 62, made it to campus on Saturday and the day was theirs.
Muñoz honored his parents by naming the one-day tournament the first-annual Benny Rose Classic.
The Eagles finished fifth in the six-team tournament.
“I always told myself that my first tournament would be named after my parents,” said Muñoz, who’s in his third season with the Estancia girls’ team. “They were always there supporting me and this was my little way of giving back to them. They’ve done so much for me.”
The CdM girls’ and Sage Hill boys’ cross country teams cracked the latest CIF Southern Section Division polls.
The Sea Kings are No. 6 in Division 3 and the Lightning are No. 7 in Division 5.