El Dorado Holds Off San Clemente, 13-10, for 3-A Title

November 22, 1986|STEVE LOWERY | Times Staff Writer

Tom Milich, El Dorado High School water polo coach, dripping wet from his second straight 3-A Southern Section championship, zapped the smile from his face and stated the facts.

"We've played better than this," he said. "We always have a problem with getting big leads and then relaxing."

The biggest fact is, of course, that El Dorado beat San Clemente, 13-10, Friday in the final at Long Beach's Belmont Plaza Pool.

How the Golden Hawks did it was sometimes less than inspired. As San Clemente Coach Steve Yancey put it, "El Dorado played with absolutely no emotion tonight."

You'll have to forgive the Golden Hawks, but this 3-A business is getting a little old. They have not lost to a 3-A opponent since Hacienda Heights Wilson beat them in overtime for the 1984 championship.

Friday, El Dorado built a 4-1 first quarter lead only to have it cut to 6-5 by halftime. In the fourth quarter, El Dorado was ahead 12-8, but San Clemente closed to 12-10.

"I have to say San Clemente played a good game," Milich said. "They're the first team really to come back at us this season."

And every time San Clemente did come back, there was one El Dorado player standing in the way.

The name is Kernit Seaton. That's Kernit with an N. And please, no frog jokes.

It was Seaton in the first quarter who stole a pass in front of his goal and whipped the ball to Mike Tillman for a goal and a 4-0 lead.

Tillman, the Golden Hawks' leading scorer this season, had four goals, as did Matt Bittick.

In the third quarter, it was Seaton who made two steals, an assist and scored a goal with three seconds remaining to give El Dorado a 10-8 lead.

With 1:49 left in the fourth quarter, and San Clemente rallying to within two goals, it was Seaton who skipped a shot over goalie Sean Cleaver's left arm for a 13-10 lead.

"Kernit always seems to be in the heat of the action," Milich said.

And Kernit seems to make a little of his own. Seaton doesn't just ask for the ball, he seems to threaten bodily harm to the teammate who does not heed his wishes.

"I just want to make sure I get their attention," he said. "Sometimes we take it too easy, I want to make sure we stay up."

That doesn't seems to be a problem for Seaton, a senior who will end his high school career on top.

"I hope this ends any more frog jokes about my name," he said. "I hope people remember my name because I was a pretty good water polo player."

Los Angeles Times Articles