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Corona del Mar's Cayman Carter, left, is brought down by Garden Grove's Jeremiah Ailes, right, after Carter gained big yardage in Saturday's CIF-SS Southern Division championship game at Angel Stadium.

Fryer: April victory set stage for Sea Kings

OCVARSITY.COM

ANAHEIM – Corona del Mar was eliminated from the Southern Division playoffs for about five minutes.

That happened at a banquet room in Long Beach eight months ago.

Corona del Mar was unchallenged during these playoffs. The Sea Kings advanced through the first three rounds with three shutout victories. They defeated Garden Grove rather handily Saturday with a 35-10 triumph at Angel Stadium in the division final.

The most formidable threat to Corona del Mar's chance at winning a second consecutive Southern Division title happened on April 25.

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That was the day the CIF-Southern Section Council met at the Grand banquet and meeting facility in Long Beach to confirm playoff groupings for this school year and next school year.

For a few minutes, Corona del Mar was not in the Southern Division. Instead, the school was in the Southwest Division in which, on Friday at Angel Stadium, Edison won the division championship.

In a harum-scarum sequence of appeals, this is what happened ...

The original proposal before the Council had the Pacific Coast League, which includes Corona del Mar and the five Irvine Unified public schools, remaining in the Southern Division for football playoffs with the Garden Grove, Golden West, Orange and Orange Coast leagues.

The Golden West League successfully appealed that the Pacific Coast League should go to the Southwest Division for football.

The Pacific Coast League followed with a counter-appeal that it should remain in the Southern Division. That counter-appeal was successful, so in the final approved package of playoff groupings, Corona del Mar and its Pacific Coast League mates remained in football's Southern Division.

How Corona del Mar would have fared in the Southwest Division this year, we of course can only guess.

Corona del Mar has won a second consecutive Southern Division championship. Two teams in the division's final four this year were Pacific Coast League teams, with Woodbridge being the other one.

Last year, the Southern Division had an all-Pacific Coast League championship game, in which Corona del Mar beat league rival Beckman.

In 2010, three teams in the Southern Division's final four were PCL teams, although it was a non-PCL team, Garden Grove, that won the division championship.

Laguna Hills was a Pacific Coast League team when it advanced to the Southern Division semifinals in '09.

The PCL's Laguna Hills won the Southern Division championship in '08, when Corona del Mar also was a semifinalist.

That is a lot of representation from one league. Is it too much?

"When we won it two years ago," said Garden Grove coach Willy Puga, after Saturday's Southern final, "we went through three Pacific Coast teams — Northwood, Beckman and Woodbridge. I think they belong in this division, I really do."

Corona del Mar athletic director Don Grable is unsure that Puga's stance is shared by others.

"They've got to figure out a place for us," Grable said.

But the playoff groupings process, for the two-year cycle of the 2014-15 and 2014-15 school years, is preceded by the releaguing process. Corona del Mar might not be in the Pacific Coast League in two years.

"There are rumors the Pacific Coast League might not have Beckman and CdM next time around," Grable said. "If that's the case, who knows?"

We know that Corona del Mar is Southern Division champion for the second year in a row. Just as important as the passing of Sea Kings quarterback Cayman Carter was on Saturday, was the passing of an appeal in April.

Contact the writer: sfryer@ocregister.com


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