TUSTIN — The Corona del Mar High football team tried to finish perfect in Pacific Coast League play last year. In the way in the league finale was rival Beckman, costing the Sea Kings the league crown.
Beckman stood in the Sea Kings' path once again on Friday. But this time, CdM had already claimed the league crown outright.
The Sea Kings never forgot about last year's setback and they set out to make history. They achieved it rather easily, prevailing 33-7 and closing out the regular season by winning every league game for the first time.
CdM, ranked No. 1 in the CIF Southern Section Southern Division poll, heads into the playoffs next week on a roll. The Sea Kings went 5-0 in league, the toughest in the Southern Division playoffs.
The two teams on the field at Tustin High also faced each other in the Southern Division title game last year. The Sea Kings look to get back there again, while the Patriots hope they receive the Southern Division's lone at-large berth into the playoffs.
The defending Southern Division champion Sea Kings most likely locked up the top seed in the postseason. They learn Sunday, when the section releases the playoff pairings, of their seed.
After claiming its second league crown in three years, CdM's goal is to go back-to-back in the Southern Division. When the school wins section titles in football, Coach Scott Meyer knows it usually does in consecutive years.
This is Meyer's second year in charge of the Sea Kings, who improved to 8-2 overall. They are going to be tough to beat in the postseason. They are scoring points in bunches and playing relentless defense and superb special teams.
"We had a great first half," said Meyer, whose team went into halftime ahead, 33-0, on its way to its most lopsided win against Beckman in seven years. "I was really happy with the way we came out."
By the first quarter, CdM was on its way to putting away the Patriots (3-7, 2-3 in league). And its kicker, Grif Amies, kicked his way into the Orange County record book.
The left-footed senior converted his 17th field goal of the year, breaking the county single-season record. Thanks to Amies the Sea Kings took a 17-0 lead in the opening quarter.
While Amies hit another field goal, a 33-yarder right before halftime, giving him 18, CdM quarterback Cayman Carter put on a show in the first half.
It took the senior nine passes to set a career high for touchdowns. Almost half of Carter's first nine throws resulted in touchdowns. He finished with four, splitting them between two wide receivers, Bo St. Geme and Troy Reese.
Carter almost threw a fifth touchdown pass in the first half, but St. Geme fell one yard short of the end zone. That score would've tied Carter for the CdM single-game school record.
In the second half, Carter didn't get the chance to tie or break the mark. He never returned to the field after the break, finishing with 142 yards on 11-of-13 passing.
The offense didn't need Carter's services as CdM led, 33-0, going into the second half.
The lead was safe with how CdM's defense shut down Beckman, allowing only 24 yards rushing in the first half.
The defense sparked CdM early on, setting up the first two scores. Both of the Patriots' first two turnovers, fumble and on downs, came after the quarterback and punter mishandled snaps. Robbie Hoffman pounced on the first one for CdM after a mad scramble for the ball in Beckman territory.
After two straight runs, Carter went to the air. On his first attempt, he found a wide-open St. Geme over the middle for a 21-yard touchdown pass. It was the start of a big first half throwing the ball for Carter, who went on to fire touchdown passes of eight, 41 and 18 yards.
Each week, Carter seems to target a different receiver, keeping defenses on their toes.