HUNTINGTON BEACH — The first game of the high school football season is a week away for Corona del Mar and Fountain Valley.
They weren't the only teams on Friday night working out the kinks during a scrimmage at Huntington Beach High.
An Internet broadcasting team called the game in the press box, a practice of sorts for the new analyst. The analyst said to whoever was listening that he used to play for Fountain Valley's new coach, Ray Fenton, when Fenton coached at Cypress.
Fenton enjoyed success at Cypress, leading the school to a CIF Southern Section Southern Division title six years ago. The team Fenton's new program faced in the scrimmage has dominated the Southern Division the past two years.
The two-time defending Southern Division champion Sea Kings got a taste of a Fenton-led team. And it bothered CdM's usually cool coach, Scott Meyer.
Meyer said he had good reasons to be irritated. The fact that Fountain Valley controlled most of the action wasn't why. Seeing his players on the other end of illegal hits and shoves after plays was why he was unhappy.
"They just won the Super Bowl," Meyer sarcastically said of the Barons. "I'm really proud of them. I want to congratulate them for winning the Super Bowl. I wish them the best of luck in the Sunset League.
"[Their] coaches were smiling about [the helmet-to-helmet hits], but maybe that's just the way they're going to play. They're going to get a wake-up call in the Sunset League and it'll be fun to watch."
Meyer, in his third year with CdM, said he's never experienced a scrimmage quite like the one against the Barons. One Fountain Valley player was thrown out because of a helmet-to-helmet hit on a receiver.
The Barons came out looking to prove a point under Fenton, who left Claremont Webb to return to Orange County. Fenton said he scheduled the scrimmage because he wanted to measure the Barons against a program like the Sea Kings', which has achieved more recent success than Fountain Valley (three straight fifth-place finishes in league).
Fenton and his staff looked as fired up as their players. After every defensive play, Fountain Valley's coaches, hanging around the end zone, raced toward their players to congratulate them.
Meyer said "it became a circus" with the Barons' coaches running around. At times, the coaches interfered with the play on the field.
Fountain Valley surely put on a show for the home fans before it kicks off the season on the road against Foothill next week.
Meyer said the Sea Kings have to get back to work before they open the season against Pacifica at Newport Harbor High next week. They struggled on both sides of the ball against Fountain Valley.
The defense left two wide receivers wide open on the Barons' first couple of offensive series, but the intended receivers dropped the passes. The Sea Kings eventually gave up 22- and 28-yard touchdown passes, and a couple of other big touchdowns because of turnovers.
Luke Napolitano is taking over the reins at quarterback for CdM. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound senior has a big arm and he tried to show it off by throwing darts toward the sideline. Two of those passes were picked off by strong safety Jacob Church and cornerback Jacob Rodriguez and returned for 50- and 48-yard touchdowns, respectively.
"First time getting really out there with a little pressure on him," Meyer said as to why Napolitano struggled. "He'll be fine. He'll learn from it. I know he's going to have a great year for us."
Meyer's previous two quarterbacks, Cayman Carter and Brent Lawson, led the Sea Kings to their first back-to-back section title run since the 1988-89 seasons.
Now it's Napolitano's turn. He will try to guide CdM to a first in the school's history: a three-peat. He has weapons in junior tailback Cole Martin and junior receiver Bo St. Geme, a strong senior center in Giovanni Gentosi, and a defense that will create turnovers and give Napolitano and the offense plenty of chances to score.
The offense only mustered one touchdown in its 30 plays against the Barons. Backup quarterback Peter Bush found receiver Cole Collins on a short pass in the end zone.
The play wrapped up the scrimmage. The teams lined up, slapped hands, and then went their separate ways. There wasn't time for much more, not even a postgame show by the broadcast team.