NEWPORT BEACH — No one had to tell Corona del Mar High School running back Brian Lucas that he wasn't having a good first half Friday night against La Quinta in the Division VI championship game.
"I was talking to myself," Lucas said. Scared by a knee injury suffered on his second carry, Lucas was trying to persuade himself to ignore the ache.
But a blitzing La Quinta defense was standing in the way, frustrating Lucas and limiting him to five yards in seven carries in the first half.
"We couldn't run up the middle, we couldn't run outside, we couldn't do anything," Lucas said.
Worse, Lucas helped La Quinta get into position for its only three points of the half when he was called for personal-foul penalties on consecutive plays.
The first penalty was for some overly aggressive pass blocking near the end of the second quarter. On the next play, Sea King quarterback Todd Kehrli's pass was intercepted by Jason Cherms and Lucas was called for grabbing the face mask when he tackled Cherms on the return. After that pair of 15-yard penalties, La Quinta had the ball on the Corona del Mar 24-yard line. Corona del Mar Coach Dave Holland was angry, and he told Lucas so.
"I said, 'Thirty bleeping yards on two plays,' " Holland said. "I kind of did it with some force.
"It just made me feel better. He was doing good. I just wanted him to calm down a little bit."
In the second half, it was Lucas' turn to do some soothing. On his first carry of the half, Lucas, The Times' Athlete of the Week, ran 94 yards for a touchdown that, combined with the extra point, put Corona del Mar ahead, 14-7.
Upon reaching the end zone after his long run, Lucas said he looked back up the field for penalty flags and was deceived because the La Quinta players were wearing yellow socks.
"I thought I saw 11 or 12 flags," he said.
Lucas finished with 164 yards in 20 carries\o7 ,\f7 but his touchdown was the game-breaker as the Sea Kings won, 21-10.
Rob Johnson of El Toro caught nine passes for 145 yards in a 26-20 loss to Paramount in the Division III championship game Saturday. Johnson finished the season with 65 receptions for 1,107 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Todd Kehrli of Corona del Mar threw a 49-yard touchdown pass to Weston Johnson for the Sea Kings' first score and ran two yards for their last as Corona del Mar defeated La Quinta for the Division VI title Friday. Kehrli, a sophomore, completed 11 of 17 passes for 159 yards.
Tim Manning of Trabuco Hills completed 14 of 23 passes for 131 yards in the Cougars' 13-7 victory over Orange in the Division VIII title game Friday. Manning also intercepted a pass, the 23rd of his career, to tie him with David Hill of Mission Viejo as Orange County's all-time leader.
Tes Whitlock of Loara led the Saxons to the championship of the Garden Grove basketball tournament Friday, scoring 18 points in a 69-52 victory over Magnolia. Whitlock, who was named the most valuable player of the tournament, scored 45 points Wednesday in an 89-85 overtime victory over Western.
Corona del Mar High School
* Position: Tailback
* Height, Weight, Class: 5-10, 180, Senior
* Last Week: Lucas rushed for 164 yards as the Sea Kings defeated La Quinta, 21-10, to win the Division VI championship Friday.
* Season: Lucas rushed for 1,449 yards on 250 carries.