High School Football: Laguna's Lancaster closes stellar chapter

On a Thursday night in Costa Mesa nearly nine months ago, Nathan Lancaster ran wild during an Orange Coast League football game.

He scooted every which way and went on to amass an incredible, 547 yards and scored seven times on 30 carries in a catch-your-breath, back-and-forth, 62-56 overtime loss to Calvary Chapel. That performance established a new Orange County single-game rushing record and it ranks second all-time in CIF Southern Section history.

Lancaster's prep career will come to an end in Costa Mesa, the city where he went into the record books, when he returns for another Thursday night performance, this one, in the Brea Lions Club Orange County North/South Prep All-Star Charity Football Game.

The 55th edition of the annual summertime contest is Thursday at Orange Coast College's LeBard Stadium.

Kickoff is 7:15 p.m.

Lancaster is the lone Laguna player in the game, and one of three players from the Orange Coast League to be selected by the Orange County Sportswriters Assn. to play in the contest.

"I'm excited to play in the game, and really looking forward to having a great time, in general," Lancaster said.

Eric Lo, head coach at Huntington Beach High, got his initial look at his South All-Star team Monday when his squad took part in the first of seven practice sessions to be held through Wednesday at Huntington Beach High's Sheue Field.

"Man, this is a really good team," Lo said. "We've just got a bunch of guys who are good football players and who are excited to be playing in this game. This really is a good group of guys who I am happy to be around."

Lancaster is part of a three-tiered South running backs group that also features the Orange Coast League's 2013 MVP, Oronde Crenshaw of Costa Mesa, and Jon Rivera of Tesoro.

All three backs were all-league selections last fall. Lancaster set several Laguna Beach records, and Crenshaw became Costa Mesa's single-season record-holder for touchdowns scored (32) and went on to be named to the 2013 All-CIF Southern Section Southern Division team.

"It's a great group of running backs," Lo said. "Nathan Lancaster is good, he's fast and he's such a nice kid. He's very explosive, and we are also working with him at free safety. He's very talented.

"He and I have something in common: we both played for the same coach."

Lo prepped and played football at Riverside Poly High under current Laguna Beach Athletic Director, Mike Churchill. Lancaster had Churchill as his head coach during his first two years on the varsity team at Laguna.

In his final season as a Breaker, Lancaster turned in stunning numbers last fall.

A three-year varsity player and two-year starter, the 18-year-old ended his Laguna career as the program's career and single-season rushing leader in several categories. That special night last October, when he set the Orange County single-game rushing record, he also set three other Laguna Beach single-game records in the process: first-half rushing yards (291), touchdowns (seven) and points scored (44).

He went on to break several Laguna program records that had only been set the previous year by then-senior Drake Martinez who played in last year's North/South All-Star Game.

The numbers Lancaster put up came as no surprise to current Laguna Beach football coach, Corey Brown.

Brown, who took over for Churchill and was in his first year as Laguna's head coach during the 2013 season, was the then-head coach of the Laguna frosh/soph team when Lancaster was a freshman.

"I started coaching four years ago at Laguna Beach and he's the first running back I had here," Brown said. "He's one of my favorite guys. To know him as a person, you love him. Put a football in his hands, and you love him, too.

"We sat down before the start of the [2013] season and I told him he would lead Orange County in rushing and scoring, and he did. Statistically, he's the best runner to come through this school. He was amazing. He never missed a workout. I knew what to expect of his play-making abilities but what he did, still blew me away.

"This All-Star game is a great opportunity for Nathan to showcase his talents with other guys from Orange County."

Lancaster, who holds Laguna Beach track and field program records in the boys' 400 meter run and as part of the boys' 4x100 meter relay team, said that Thursday's All-Star football game will be his final athletic contest. He said he will stop playing after Thursday's game, citing a few injuries (shoulder, knee) that, he said, he doesn't "want to get any worse."

"It will be hard to stay away from sports, but I'll find other ways to stay busy," he said, adding that he has entertained thoughts of becoming a physical therapist.

Lancaster said he will attend Saddleback College in August.

•Ticket costs for the North/South All-Star Game are $10 pre-sale and $12 at the gate the night of the contest. Pre-sale tickets can be purchased by calling the Brea Lions Club at (714) 524-3335.

Game proceeds benefit Western Youth Services Inc., Orange County Youth Foundation Inc., and participating local high schools and youth groups.

Gates open at 6 p.m. Thursday.

South Roster


Quarterbacks: Kai Ross (Huntington Beach, 6-3, 195); Luke Napolitano (Corona del Mar, 6-3, 200)

Running backs: Oronde Crenshaw (Costa Mesa, 6-0, 195); Nathan Lancaster (Laguna Beach, 5-111/2, 196); Jon Rivera (Tesoro, 5-11, 205)

Wide receivers: Maurice Barber (Huntington Beach, 6-0, 175); Dominic Collins (El Toro, 6-3, 175); Quest Truxton (Newport Harbor, WR/CB, 6-0, 170); Tucker deCamp (Huntington Beach, 6-3, 190)

Linemen: Evander Warren (Huntington Beach, 6-2, 260); Drake Schwenke (Santa Margarita, 6-4, 275); Markus Boyer (Edison, 6-2 295); Giovanni Gentosi (Corona del Mar, 6-3, 240); Tyler Maxwell (San Clemente, 6-0, 303); Evan Perzanowski (Ocean View, 6-7, 290); Jake Arlotti (Mission Viejo, 6-2, 265)

Kicker/Punter: Hunter Kelley (Edison, 6-1, 187).


Linemen: Jack Bares (Tesoro, 5-11, 185); Taylor Prenovost (Santa Margarita, 6-4, 230); Cameron Perales (Laguna Hills, 6-2, 225 ); Nick Leduc (Trabuco Hills, 6-0, 210); Will Martin (Brethren Christian, 6-3, 247); David Siliuta (Edison, 6-2, 298).

Linebackers: Philip Hong (Woodbridge, 5-9, 205); Zack Holland (Mission Viejo, 6-3, 235); Sam Travis (El Toro, 5-10, 175); Matt Wood (Trabuco Hills, 6-0, 210); Hunter Braun (JSerra, 6-0, 200).

Backs: Quinton Bell (Costa Mesa, 6-3, 210); Will Blum (San Juan Hills, 6-0, 175); Jacob Church (Fountain Valley, 6-1, 185); Jonathan LaBonty (Santa Margarita, 6-1, 195); Charlie Griffin (Corona del Mar, 5-11, 175); Isaiah Davis (Fountain Valley, 5-10, 175); Cory Stowell (Newport Harbor, 6-1, 185); Matt Gordon (Capistrano Valley, 5-10, 170)

Head Coach: Eric Lo (Huntington Beach).

North Roster


Quarterbacks: Scott Lloyd (Fullerton, 6-2, 215; Dylan Osborne (Villa Park, 5-11, 165).

Running backs: Justin Allen (Mater Dei, 5-11, 185); TJ Ashmeade (Katella, 6-3, 185); Nick Lopiccola (Servite, 5-6, 165).

Wide receivers: Adam Connette (Orange Lutheran, 5-10, 185); Dashawn Gordon (Los Alamitos, 5-9, 160); Chris Prescott (Canyon/Anaheim, 6-0, 170); Neill Pau'u (Servite, 6-4, 220).

Tight end: Tim Holt (Yorba Linda, 6-2, 205).

Linemen: Jesse Gomez (Buena Park, 6-2, 285); Michael Hayden (Los Alamitos, 6-0, 235); Cameron Henry (Canyon/Anaheim, 6-1, 245); Adrian Lomeli (La Habra, 6-2, 260); Adam O'Shea (Servite, 6-0, 240); Nathan Trent (Kennedy, 6-2, 275); Louis Vecchio (Villa Park, 6-5, 250).

Kicker/Punter: Derek Brush (Whittier Christian, 6-2, 205).


Linemen: Dillan Cazares (Yorba Linda, 6-0, 195); Kory Grange (Esperanza, 6-2, 225); Matt Hall (Fullerton, 6-3, 210); Frankie Jorquez (Western, 6-1, 198); Cole Major (Foothill, 6-0, 218); Bryan Quexel (Garden Grove, 5-7, 210).

Backs: Deryck Fletcher (Fullerton, 6-0, 180); Johnny Johnson (Mater Dei, 6-0, 182); Derrick Kendrick (Villa Park, 6-2, 210); Sione Masoe (Garden Grove, 6-0, 185); Jerry Raye (Los Alamitos, 5-8, 162); Isaiah Walton (Orange Lutheran, 5-9, 180).

Head coaches: Ed DeAvila and Gus Martinez (Fullerton).

Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World