GARDEN GROVE — A year ago this time, the Laguna Beach High football team was about to embark on what would become a record-setting year and one of the best in the program's history.
Friday in Garden Grove, the 2012 Breakers picked up where their predecessors left off.
Laguna again assaulted the school record book on the opening night of their season, a night that for the most part, couldn't have turned out much better than a 62-14 victory over host Bolsa Grande. The Breakers scored early and often, took an insurmountable lead by halftime, then rode out a running clock in the second half, to one of its biggest wins in school history.
The Breakers led, 55-14, by the half. The 55 were the most points ever scored in a half for a Laguna team. The 62-point total is the third most points in a single game. Senior running back Drake Martinez scored five first-half touchdowns in the first half, four on the ground and another, on a stunning, 78-yard punt return. The five TDs in one half also was a school record.
Martinez, who along with the rest of the Laguna starting line-up sat out the second half, scored five touchdowns in a game for the second time in his career. He shares the single-game touchdown record with receiver Chris Paul, who also accomplished the task twice, and running back Donnell Darling.
Martinez's punt return was the eighth longest in school history.
He finished with 147 yards on seven carries in two quarters of play.
Senior running back Robert Clemons set the night in motion by returning the opening kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown. He later scored on a 39-yard punt return and now has five career returns for touchdowns. That mark ties the school record (five) for returns originally set by Dick Burt (1945-46).
Clemons would have the school record at six returns, but the first of his two second-quarter punt returns for a touchdown was wiped away by a penalty.
Martinez and Clemons were two of the Breakers' team captains for the game.
"You know, it was one of those funny games where I wanted to do some things out there, but the game got out of hand real quick," Laguna Coach Mike Churchill said. "Every coach is scared to death of that first game but really, we couldn't have asked for a better start. We made some mistakes, but they are correctable."
With the game just four minutes old, Laguna already had taken a 21-0 lead. After Clemons returned the opening kickoff to the house, the Breakers defense forced Bolsa Grande quarterback Josh Borbon to fumble which the Breakers recovered at the nine-yard line. On the next play, Martinez waltzed in for the score and Robbie McInerny's kick made it 14-0.
The Breakers got the ball back four plays later and another quick drive ended when Martinez walked into the end zone from a yard out. On the Breakers' next possession, senior quarterback Larry Stewart hit a wide open, sophomore receiver Keaton Martinez, younger brother of Drake, with a 16-yard TD pass. Just like that, it was 28-0 at the midway point on the opening quarter.
Of their seven offensive plays, the Breakers scored three times.
Bolsa Grande got the on scoreboard on its ensuing possession. The Matadors churned out an 18-play, 83-yard drive that was capped by a one-yard scoring pass from Borbon to Jarrod Feuer 13 seconds into the second quarter. A few minutes later, Drake Martinez came up with his 78-yard punt return. Less than a minute later, he scored again, this time on a 58-yard run on a one-play drive that put the score at 42-7.
Clemons scored on his punt return with 4:01 left in the half. Bolsa Grande scored its second touchdown with just 31 seconds till the half, but the Breakers weren't through as Drake Martinez countered with a 62-yard scoring run on first down, to bring the score to 55-14.
"We had a hard [preseason] camp, I put the kids through a lot, and I didn't know if we'd have our legs back for this game," Churchill said. "The kids showed that they were hungry, and ready to play.
"I thought a lot of our kids did a nice job. Drake, well, is Drake. Spencer [Anderson] did a real nice job and played hard every down."
Anderson, a senior defensive end and team captain who was an all-Orange Coast League player last year and is the league's reigning track and field hurdles champion, had four sacks in the game totaling minus-27 yards. Senior lineman Joe Casey also harassed Borbon all night.
With the Laguna starters on the sideline for the entire second half, Keaton Martinez quarterbacked the Breakers over the final two quarters. McInerny and senior Andres De La Rosa took over the Breakers' run game, with McInerny scoring the only touchdown of the second half on a five-yard run with 3:39 left in the third quarter.
Laguna returns to action next Friday. The Breakers will play host to University at 7 p.m. at Guyer Field.
"They're a good football team," Churchill said of the Trojans. "They have two really good running backs and come the always-tough Pacific Coast League."
Next game: Sept. 7, home vs. University, 7 p.m.
Sept. 13: vs. John Glenn (Excelsior High)
Sept. 21: St. Margaret's, 7 p.m.
Sept. 28: Pioneer, 7 p.m.
Oct. 5: *Saddleback, 7 p.m.
Oct. 12: at *Estancia, 7 p.m.
Oct. 19: *Calvary Chapel, 7 p.m. (homecoming)
Oct. 26: *Godinez
Nov. 1: vs. *Costa Mesa, 7 p.m. (Orange Coast College)
(*denotes league game)