Scott Meyer never got the chance to play a high school football game in a professional stadium, let alone coach a high school game in one.
On Monday, he pictured what it would be like to coach a game in a pro stadium. What better way to conjure up that image than to walk on the field at Angel Stadium.
It was early in the morning when Meyer arrived at the stadium. Groundskeepers mowed the grass. Strings to line up the field touched the grass. Goal posts stood at each end zone.
The 48-year-old Meyer looked in awe at the scene. What he saw was a field intended for baseball slowly transform into one for football.
That field is where Meyer gets to coach his Corona del Mar High team on Saturday. When Meyer leads the top-seeded Sea Kings (11-2) into Angel Stadium to play No. 3 Garden Grove (11-2) for the CIF Southern Section Southern Division title, he expects their eyes to be wide open.
Kickoff is set for 2 p.m., but Meyer plans to bring his team to the stadium early.
"When we get there, we'll probably walk right out on the field for a few minutes and let these guys take it in and experience it, and then it will be time to go to work," said Meyer, who has no doubt his players will adjust to playing in a pro facility. "Once we kick it off, [the field is] the same size as our field at CdM."
The dimensions of the field will be the same, the game-day routine won't be.
Both programs have been on this stage before, playing for Southern Division championships in recent years. CdM is trying to repeat as champion and Garden Grove is making its third title-game appearance in four years, but those games were at Orange Coast College and at night. The afternoon start might be an issue for two teams accustomed to playing at 7 p.m.
The Sea Kings have already struggled getting into an offensive rhythm in the first quarter of their three playoff games. They haven't scored any points in the first 12 minutes of each game.
What has helped the no-huddle offense not be in such a hurry to produce is that CdM's defense hasn't allowed any points in the postseason.
After the first quarter, CdM's offense has hurt defenses. With weapons like quarterback Cayman Carter (2,007 yards and 16 touchdowns through the air and 993 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground), tailback Kai Wilson (1,041 yards and nine touchdowns rushing), wide receiver Troy Reese (52 catches for 779 yards and eight touchdowns), and kicker Griff Amies (21 field goals), it's hard to slow down the Sea Kings for an entire game.
Meyer said you could say the same thing about Garden Grove's potent offense, which features running back C.J. Del Real (1,047 yards and 18 touchdowns rushing).
Against Garden Grove, CdM's offense cannot rely on its defense to post another shutout. The Argonauts are averaging close to 40 points per game this season, thanks to a physical line and strong ground game. The last time a team blanked Garden Grove in a game was seven years ago.
"They've been playing really, really well, really all year long," Meyer said of the Argonauts, who have won eight straight games.
One of Garden Grove's setbacks came against Woodbridge, which won the nonleague game, 37-30, on Sept. 7 at Irvine High. The Sea Kings beat that same Woodbridge team, 25-0, on the same field last week in the semifinals.
The victory against Woodbridge marked the second for CdM against the Pacific Coast League foe this year. The first one, a 33-16 decision, clinched the outright league title for CdM.
"It's hard to look at the comparative scores," said Meyer, whose team shares another common opponent with the Argonauts in Los Amigos. "They hammered Los Amigos [56-14 in a Garden Grove League game] pretty good."
Meyer's team flattened Los Amigos, 26-0, in the quarterfinals. The shutout is one of four CdM has recorded in its last six games.
The three-game shutout streak in the postseason is one in which defensive linemen Tim Reinhardt and Greg Williford and the rest of the defense take pride. The defensive unit became the second in the program's history to not allow a point in its first three playoff contests.
The first CdM defense to accomplish the feat went on to claim the Division VI title 23 years ago.
That team also completed a back-to-back section title run.
The latest CdM team can achieve the same success, a second straight crown.
The Sea Kings get to do it inside a pro stadium.