Nearby where Scott Meyer grew up in Long Beach, there's a banquet hall called "The Grand." Over the years, Meyer said he's visited the place for weddings, funerals, you name the event, and he's probably been to it at The Grand.
There is one special occasion around this time of the year that keeps bringing the 48-year-old Meyer back to The Grand.
For the second straight year, Meyer and members of his Corona del Mar High football program attended a CIF Southern Section luncheon at The Grand honoring the Sea Kings for making it back to the Southern Division title game. The Sea Kings were one of 26 11-man teams in the section receiving recognition on Monday for making it to their respective divisional final.
"We're just real happy to be back," said Meyer, who in his second year at the helm of the Sea Kings has them trying to repeat as champions.
"It was real special last year, coming in the first year [as coach] and with that group of guys. But it's an awesome feeling to get back with this group of guys as well."
Four seniors joined Meyer, his top two assistants, Kevin Hettig and Dan O'Shea, the school's athletic director, Don Grable, and principal, Tim Bryan, at a table reserved for CdM.
Meyer said he chose the four players – quarterback Cayman Carter, tailback Kai Wilson, defensive end Tim Reinhardt and defensive back Ryan Griffin – because they represent both sides of the ball well. Can't argue with that as the foursome has led top-seeded CdM (11-2) to the championship game against No. 3 Garden Grove (11-2) at Angel Stadium on Saturday at 2 p.m.
Meyer said he already got a tour of the stadium. He didn't mind having to drive in the morning from his home in Long Beach to Anaheim and then back to Long Beach for the luncheon. The food at The Grand and the stories Newport Beach resident Paul McDonald, a former USC and NFL quarterback, told as the keynote speaker were worth the mileage.
"It's a great stadium," said Meyer, adding that the goal posts are already in place and that the baseball infield has been re-sodded to accommodate football.
"It's an exciting time, especially being in that stadium, thinking about our fans, our families, our administration, and to have these guys experience playing in such a great stadium like that."
Corona del Mar has never lost to Garden Grove in football.
The programs have met three previous times, in 2005, 1996 and 1995. In those matchups, the Sea Kings outscored Garden Grove, 130-14.
Something tells me the latest contest between the Pacific Coast League champion Sea Kings and Garden Grove League champion Argonauts will be close.
While the Sea Kings are trying to defend their Southern Division crown, the Argonauts are making their third Southern Division final appearance in four years.
Garden Grove won the title two years ago, edging Beckman, 31-30. The Sea Kings barely beat Beckman, 14-13, in last year's finale.
Meyer said the teams are even and he expects a close game.
The Sea Kings' defense hasn't allowed any points since the 6:30 mark in the third quarter of their regular-season finale against Beckman.
That is 13 straight quarters of shutout football, 12 coming in the playoffs.
Shutting out Garden Grove, which is averaging 39.1 points per game this year, will be difficult. The last time the Argonauts were held scoreless in a game was seven years ago.
This is the year Dave White, a Newport Beach resident, leads Edison to a CIF Southern Section football title as coach.
White has been in charge of his alma mater for 27 years. The Chargers are making their fourth section title appearance under White on Friday, when they play Villa Park for the Southwest Division championship at Angel Stadium at 7:30 p.m.
White's three previous section final trips, Edison lost to Servite, 16-6, in the Pac-5 Division in 2009, lost to Orange Lutheran, 30-20, in the Pac-5 Division in 2006, and lost to Long Beach Poly, 42-28, in Division I in 2001.
The Chargers are no longer in the top playoff division, having left it when the Sunset League before the season moved to the Southwest Division, which is considered Division VI. Also, Edison defeated Villa Park, 27-7, during nonleague play this year.
A couple of weeks ago, White earned his 200th career win. He is now one win away from his first CIF Southern Section title as coach.