Alex Moore is the football player who makes all the calls for the Corona del Mar High defense. When the play ends, the middle linebacker most of the time is the reason why.
You can usually find Moore near the ball, on top of whoever is carrying it. The junior has made 128 tackles in 12 games this year.
Some at CdM believed the number of tackles in a season ranks No. 1 in the school's history. Moore isn't close to the 167-tackle record set by John Katovsich 24 years ago.
What Moore and Katovsich do have in common is being in the same position, playing linebacker and being involved in the program's pursuit of consecutive CIF Southern Section titles.
When Katovsich set the school mark for tackles in a season in 1988, he helped CdM win its first section title and start a back-to-back run.
Moore is now trying to lead the Sea Kings to a second straight section championship. He's making all the right calls for the defense so far, as CdM has shut out each of its first two opponents in the CIF Southern Section Southern Division playoffs.
Moore and the top-seeded Sea Kings (10-2) need one more victory for a shot to defend their Southern Division crown. The opponent Friday in the semifinals at Irvine High at 7 p.m. is Woodbridge (7-5), a familiar one.
"I think we'll pull it off," Moore said of beating a Pacific Coast League foe for the second time this year. "I think their line is big, bigger than us, but I think we're more disciplined and a better all-around team.
"Hopefully we score a lot of points and it's not close."
Each of CdM's postseason games have been blowouts. While the offense has produced 59 of the 61 points in the past two games, the defense has blanked the opposition.
The latest team CdM dominated was Los Amigos in a quarterfinal road game last week in which it won, 26-0. The teams met the previous year in the same round, CdM allowing just seven points.
Even with Los Amigos boasting the top rusher in Orange County, the Lobos failed to score.
The rematch wasn't much of a fight after halftime. Moore and the rest of the defense held running back Jerry Saldivar to 118 yards rushing, 80 below his per game average.
"Their [offensive linemen], I thought they were pretty good," Moore said, "but I think their running back was way overrated."
Moore helped contain Saldivar, finishing with 11 tackles (four solo, seven assists). The total isn't even his best this year.
Twice, Moore has collected 15 tackles in a game, and he has produced 14-tackle games three times. Expect him to be around the ball against Woodbridge, which features the county's No. 2 rusher in Austin DeFreitas.
DeFreitas, a junior, has amassed 2,023 yards and 19 touchdowns on the ground. Moore and CdM limited the bruising back to 81 yards in the Sea Kings' 33-16 win that clinched the league title on Oct. 26 at Newport Harbor High.
"[The game] motivated us a lot. We didn't think we had respect," said Moore, referring to the league coaches picking Woodbridge to finish first in league before the season. "We earned [respect].
"We were No. 1 going into the year in the [Southern Division poll], but not No. 1 in the league."
Moore can make sure CdM caps the season at the top of the Southern Division again. Two more wins and he is a champion for the second straight season.