Breakers regroup with Shanahan
When the Laguna Beach High football team steps onto the field Friday night at Bolsa Grande High, the Breakers not only are opening a new season, but also are ushering in John Shanahan’s first year as head coach.
Shanahan, a new coaching staff, and the Breakers make their debut at 7 p.m.
The 2016 Breakers return 10 starters from a 2-8 team that went winless in Orange Coast League play year. One of the returnees is All-Orange Coast League offensive lineman Zach Fields.
“We are off-the-charts excited here,” Shanahan said. “It feels like a whole new culture here. We had a great walk-through [Thursday] and we are as ready to go as a team can be for opening week.”
Laguna will be on the road for three of its five nonleague games. The Breakers will go up against two CIF playoff teams from a year ago, Segerstrom and St. Margaret’s, before heading into Orange Coast League play. They’ll launch their league campaign Oct. 7 against Godinez which finished second in OCL play last year. The Breakers will end league play and the regular season hosting defending league champion Calvary Chapel.
Laguna’s Guyer Field has undergone a makeover which includes a new playing surface and installation of a state-of-the-art LED scoreboard. The Breakers have been holding workouts on the backside of the baseball field.
Shanahan said the field will be ready for the Breakers’ home opener Sept. 2.
“It looks amazing,” he said. “They still need to line the track but that will be done Monday. We are really looking forward to getting on our football field. We have a very detailed offense and special teams, and it will be great to be able to finally work that out on our field.”
Shanahan, who previously had a successful, five-year run as head coach of the JSerra freshman football program, also will be making his varsity head coaching debut Friday.
“Whether coaching the freshman team, or as a varsity assistant, it’s all similar to me,” he said. “The only thing I can do is what I have done, and that is to be prepared and bring as much passion and energy to my team as I can.”
Laguna opponent Friday, Bolsa Grande, went 0-10 last year. One of those losses was a 16-12 setback at Laguna.
Laguna Beach Football
League: Orange Coast
CIF Division: 13
Head Coach: John Shanahan (1st year)
Coaching Staff: League: Darren Crawford (defensive coordinator); Alex Hutchison (linebackers); Brian Bishop (offensive coordinator); Tarquin Stephenson (offensive line); Nate Ball (wide receivers); Paige Nobles (running backs); Gene Noji (quarterbacks).
2016 Record: 2-8 overall/0-5 league (sixth)
Offensive Scheme: Spread
Defensive Scheme: 4-4, Cover 3
Returning starters: 4 offense/6 defense
Returning with Honors: Zach Fields (OL, first-team all-league, Jr.).
Key Newcomers: Karam Jones (WR, Sr.); Sean Nolan (WR/DB, Soph.); Finn Moriarty (WR/LB, Sr.).
Coach’s Take: “Unbelievably hard working and smart group of kids who could surprise a lot of people this year,” Shanahan said.
CIF Division: The Breakers are grouped in Division 13 which includes a total of 84 Southern Section schools.
“In our division, it is extremely difficult to make the playoffs because there are 84 teams vying for 16 spots,” Shanahan said. “If we get in, the sky is the limit.”
The Schedule: “No disrespect to any one opponent but we have two, great nonleague challenges in Segerstrom and St. Margaret’s, and we open league against big and physical Godinez,” Shanahan said. “In November, we face Calvary Chapel which could determine our playoff hopes.”
Season Opener: Friday at Bolsa Grande (7 p.m.)
Friday: at Bolsa Grande, 7 p.m.
Sept. 2: Westminster La Quinta, 7 p.m.
Sept. 9: Segerstrom, 7 p.m.
Sept. 15: at Orange (Fred Kelly Stadium, 7 p.m.)
Sept. 23: at St. Margaret’s
Oct. 7: *Godinez, 7 p.m.
Oct. 14: at *Costa Mesa, 7 p.m.
Oct. 21: *Saddleback, 7 p.m.
Oct. 27: at *Estancia, 7 p.m.
Nov. 3: *Calvary Chapel, 7 p.m.