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Laguna gets first gridiron win; Santiago looms tonight

Gauging his team’s progress from the first week of the season to the next, Jonathan Todd was pleased with the way his Laguna Beach High football team performed last Friday against La Quinta of Westminster.

Pleased, but not thoroughly satisfied.

Todd notched victory No. 1 as coach at his alma mater and Laguna got its first win in 2007, a 31-22 decision over the Aztecs at Bolsa Grande High.

The Breakers bolted to a 31-0 lead, cleared the bench and celebrated their initial triumph.

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And it was an improvement in their play, in general, for the Breakers, who were a week removed from a season-opening loss to Corona del Mar.

“First off, we’re happy to get that first win," Todd said. “I did see improvement in our play "” we hit harder and had much better technique "” from the first game to this one. But even though we won, we still made a lot of mistakes. We dropped passes that could gone for either touchdowns or first downs, and fumbled a lot. We squandered several scoring opportunities."

The Breakers also had to overcome an injury to quarterback Charley Bowman who, while lunging forward on a play in the second quarter, took a helmet to the back of his arm.

Unable to throw but still able to play, Bowman was utilized at running back "” joining Zach Smith and Jeremy Kaplan in the backfield "” and receiver.

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His replacement at quarterback was sophomore Andrew Paddon, who threw a couple of touchdown passes to keep the Breakers rolling.

Bowman was one of three key Breakers to sustain an injury in the game. Laguna also lost two linemen in Alex Ronses, who suffered a concussion, and Kyle Jenkins, who suffered a high-ankle sprain.

The Breakers also had entered the La Quinta game without the services of injured starting center Danny Panduro but the play of his replacement, sophomore Ryan Raffo, drew the praise of Todd.

“Ryan stepped in and did a terrific job in his first varsity start," Todd said.

Paddon and Raffo again will take on starting roles tonight when the Breakers travel to Garden Grove High to take on Santiago of Garden Grove in nonleague play.

The Cavaliers opened their season last Friday and lost 21-6 to host Bishop Diego at Santa Barbara City College.

“On film, they look good," Todd said of the Cavaliers. “They’ve got a good offensive scheme and run a pressure-style defense. They lost last week to a very good team.

“The big thing for us is that we have to keep on improving each week, play hard and be physical. And we need to cut down on our mistakes."

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