Jonathan Todd used to play home football games at Guyer Field when he attended Laguna Beach High.
Tonight, he’ll take that same field again but this time, for the first time, he’ll be doing so as the school’s new head football coach.
Laguna begins its 2007 season at home against longtime rival Corona del Mar.
Kickoff is 7 p.m.
The former Laguna assistant coach said he likes the way his first team has emerged from preseason practice sessions this month.
“The team’s progressed very well,” he said. “We have everything we had wanted to put in and more, so I’m pleased. At this point, it’s up to the boys and how much they want it on Friday night.”
Laguna went 5-6 overall last year and won the Orange Coast League championship.
Corona del Mar, meanwhile, went 7-5 overall, finished second in the Pacific Coast League and won two playoff games. The Sea Kings are rebuilding on offense with just three returners from last year.
Their defense only lost three players from a year ago.
Key returners are two all-league players, running back/linebacker Erik Rask (6-2, 210) and his twin, Kevin (6-2, 205), who also plays linebacker.
Erik Rask had been the team’s leading rusher and tackler last year before he tore the anterior cruciate in his right knee during a game against Laguna Hills last October and was lost for the remainder of the season.
“As usual, the Sea Kings will play power football,” Todd said. “They’ll just run power until you stop it. They’re going to have a good defense; they run an aggressive 3-5-3 style of defense. It should be a great challenge for us.
“In the end, it’s going to come down to execution and effort. We know what they’re going to do, and we just need to stop it. And we need to execute our offense.”
Todd said he’s been waiting for this first game.
“As an alumni and former Laguna Beach player, it’s a dream come true for me,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed the preparation prior to this game, and I’m excited to see the boys succeed.”
Laguna will be looking for its first win in the series since 1985.
The teams have met only eight times since that ’85 season, with all eight of those games having been played successively since 1999.
Corona del Mar has a No. 5 preseason ranking in the first CIF-Southern Section Southern Division poll of the season.