Another game, another rout.
The Laguna Beach High football team took its first step in the CIF Southern Section Southern Division playoffs on Nov. 9 and scored a resounding, 42-14 victory over Loara of Anaheim. The win puts the No. 2-seeded Breakers, champions of the Orange Coast League, into a quarterfinal round game Friday against Northwood of Irvine.
Northwood, 5-6 overall and the No. 2 team from the Pacific Coast League, finished second to top-seeded Corona del Mar and advanced by taking down Rancho Alamitos, 41-14, last Friday.
Laguna plays host to the quarterfinal game at 7 p.m. at Guyer Field.
"Northwood's a very good team and in a lot of ways, a lot like those other Irvine teams," Laguna Coach Mike Churchill said. "They are well-coached and have a really good quarterback who played the game of his life last week. It should be a very good game."
Quarterback Kevin Norman starred in Northwood's 41-14 win over Rancho Alamitos (Garden Grove League No. 3). The senior threw for 230 yards with five touchdowns. To add to his night, Norman, the team's leading rusher, also ran for 120 yards and a touchdown.
Laguna scored more than 40 points for the eighth time this season in its 42-14 win against Loara. The Breakers held a commanding 42-0 lead on the Saxons early in the third quarter. After extending the lead to 42-0, Loara asked for a running clock the remainder of the game.
It marked the seventh time in 11 games that Laguna has been involved in a game that used a running clock for the second half.
Robert Clemons (74 yards) and Nathan Lancaster (41 yards) both scored on punt returns, Lancaster (43 yards) and Drake Martinez (20 yards) scored on runs, and quarterback Larry Stewart threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Keaton Martinez and closed out the scoring for Laguna on a six-yard run just three minutes into the second half.
Lancaster rushed for 114 yards on only five carries. The effort put the junior at an even 1,000 rushing yards for the season. Team rushing leader Drake Martinez rushed for 108 yards on 13 attempts and the senior now has 1,274 yards and a school-record 30 touchdowns, overall, this year.
"We came out really focused and the kids did a real nice job," Churchill said of the first-round win. "Everybody's playing well on offense and we're throwing the ball more than we did earlier in the year. One thing that impresses me about our team, is that our defense continues to get better and better. Teams in the past used to be able to run up the middle on us, but we've taken that away this year."
Laguna now has scored 12 touchdowns this season on kick returns which ties a state record. Seven of those kick return touchdowns belong to Clemons who ranks second all-time in that department. Overall, the Breakers have scored 17 times on all runbacks (kickoffs, punt returns, fumble returns, interceptions).
The victory over Loara allowed the 2012 Breakers to become only the fourth team in the 78-year history of Laguna football to win 10 games in a season. Last year's Breakers also achieved the feat, as did the 1968 and 1987 teams. A win Friday would give the 2012 Breakers the single-season school record for victories.
The winner of the Northwood-Laguna game advances to face the winner of another Friday quarterfinal game between Garden Grove League champ and No. 3-seeded Garden Grove and Segerstrom (Golden West League No. 2), in a Southern Division semifinal game on Nov. 23.
Laguna Results (10-0-1)
Friday: vs. ^Northwood, 7 p.m.
(*denotes league game; ^denotes CIF game)