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Defense again leads Corona del Mar
IRVINE - Corona del Mar went into the playoffs as one of the top scoring teams in the county, averaging a little over 30 points a game.
Lately, though, another phase of the Sea Kings has been delivering in impressive fashion, too.
On Friday, Corona del Mar’s defense recorded its third consecutive postseason shutout and fifth overall in an impressive 25-0 thrashing of Woodbridge in a CIF-Southern Section Southern Division semifinal game at Irvine High.
Much like its other two playoff victories over Anaheim (35-0) and Los Amigos (26-0), the Sea Kings (11-2) dominated the line of scrimmage, limiting the Warriors (7-6) to 161 total yards and forcing three turnovers.
“Outstanding,” Woodbridge coach Rick Gibson said. “You can’t win without a great defense, and (Corona del Mar) has the best defense in the division.”
The last time the Sea Kings were scored on was on a 33-yard touchdown run by Beckman’s Blake Crandall in the final quarter of a 33-7 rout Nov. 7.
Over 150 minutes of playing time has passed since, and, according to junior middle linebacker Alex Moore, the unit is improving.
“As the season went on, we got better and better each week. Now, we’re peaking at the right time,” the Sea Kings’ leading tackler said.
It seemed fitting Corona del Mar’s defense – which features eight underclassmen - delivered what was likely the telling blow in Friday’s triumph.
With the Sea Kings ahead, 9-0, with three minutes left in the first half, Hoyt Chance tipped a pass by Warriors backup quarterback Michael Pritchett. Defensive lineman Greg Willford grabbed the pass in the air and ran 21 yards for a touchdown and a subsequent 16-0 halftime lead.
“I’m really proud with the way (the defense) is playing," Sea Kings coach Scott Meyer said. "Three playoff shutouts is pretty impressive.”
Next up, a Garden Grove squad that averages 39 points a game.
“They’re playing really well right now. It will definitely be our biggest test of the season,” Meyer said.