Scott Meyer can laugh about it now, but he wasn't four months ago. His Corona del Mar High football team almost lost a chance to defend its CIF Southern Section Southern Division crown this year.
It just didn't seem right to Meyer, but the section had approved an appeal in April to remove the Sea Kings and the Pacific Coast League from the Southern Division playoffs. Proponents for the move believed the league dominated the Southern Division playoffs and the section needed to make a change.
Last year's title game featured two Pacific Coast League schools, CdM and Beckman. The programs were the third and fourth teams from the league to play for a section championship since the start of the Southern Division six years ago.
CdM has a great shot to be the fifth, because the Pacific Coast League is back in the Southern Division.
"With the size of our school, it seems like we're kind of in the right place," said Meyer, who believed the league was heading to the tougher Southwest Division.
"Wherever they were going to put us, we were going to go play."
The Sea Kings aren't afraid of competition. They have a tough schedule. Meyer pointed out on the team's Twitter feed (@CdMFootball) that the Sea Kings will face five of the top 25 preseason teams in Orange County.
All five of CdM's nonleague opponents are from the Southwest Division. The first is a home game at Newport Harbor High on Aug. 31 against No. 19 Laguna Hills, a former Pacific Coast League member.
The Hawks used to dominate the league, going unbeaten during their four-year title run from 2006-09. The Hawks are heading into their third year in the Sea View League and they're the first of two teams from that league CdM plays. The other is No. 18 Capistrano Valley.
Other tough nonleague matchups for CdM include the Battle of the Bay against No. 15 Newport Harbor, a Sunset League member, and No. 25 Cypress of the Empire League.
The Sea Kings have dropped the past five rivalry games to Newport Harbor and they last beat Cypress nine years ago.
"We want to test ourselves a little bit to get us ready for our league schedule," said Meyer, whose team went 12-2, 4-1 in league last year.
The Sea Kings' biggest challenge in league figures to be No. 24 Woodbridge on Oct. 26.
The CdM home game is the second-to-last league contest and it comes three days after Meyer turns 48. The winner just may lock up the league crown and one of the top two seeds in the playoffs.
Earning one of those seeds is vital to CdM making another run at a section championship. Below are the players who will try to help CdM go back-to-back:
Quarterback: Cayman Carter gets his opportunity to start in his senior year. He saw time last year, when CdM was already up big in games.
Carter reminds Meyer of last year's quarterback, Brent Lawson, the Daily Pilot Newport-Mesa Dream Team Player of the Year and All-CIF Southern Section Southern Division Offensive Player of the Year. Meyer hopes the 6-foot-1, 180-pound Carter can run the no-huddle spread offense like Lawson (2,519 yards and 27 touchdowns through the air) did.
Junior Luke Napolitano and sophomore Bo St. Geme are the backups. Meyer said Napolitano has nice size at 6-3 and a strong arm.
Running backs: Kai Wilson is the tailback and the senior has big shoes to fill with Erik Fisher graduating.
Fisher, a Dream Team and All-CIF pick, rushed for 1,697 yards and 18 touchdowns last year as a senior.