When the week's practices commenced Monday at Guyer Field, Jonathan Todd said very little to his players in regards to the importance of what lies ahead for his football team.
The Breakers are well aware of what is to come. Tonight, Laguna can move a step closer to winning back the Orange Coast League football title it captured two years ago with a win over Estancia.
The Breakers and Eagles kick off at 7 p.m. at Guyer Field, where on Senior Night, 12 seniors will play their final regular-season home game.
At 2-0 in league, Laguna needs a win to move into a share of first place with Costa Mesa. The Mustangs, idle this week, already are at 3-0 in league.
Laguna and Costa Mesa meet Nov. 14 in a regular-season finale that could have title and playoff-berth implications.
"We talked last week about what's ahead for us, but when practice started up Monday, I didn't say much. I didn't have to. The kids know what's at stake," Todd said. "I was really happy to see them come out hitting hard and motivated for this game.
"We're really excited to be playing in a game where so much is on the line. It's great to be in that position."
Like Laguna, Estancia is fighting to stay alive in the league race. The Eagles are 1-1 in league, their loss a 14-7 setback to Costa Mesa on the opening night of league play on Oct. 17.
Estancia is 3-5 overall and last week ended a losing streak at four games by beating Godinez, 41-7. The Eagles, who shared the league title last year with Costa Mesa, got 146 yards and three touchdowns out of Carlos Mendez, last year's league MVP. Todd says stopping the senior running back will be one key to the Breakers' success.
Before putting up 41 points on Godinez, a school playing its first year of varsity football, Estancia had struggled to find the end zone in its previous four games, scoring no more than 14 in a single game.
Laguna had a similar scoring drought earlier in the year, but in league play, the Breakers(3-5 overall) averaged 44 points in wins over Godinez and Calvary Chapel.
"Each week this season, there seems to be a new player who steps up for us and get things done on game night. We're looking for someone new to step forward against Estancia," Todd said.
Todd has kept league title and playoff scenarios talk the past week to a minimal, and for good reason. The only thing the Breakers are assured of, he said, is tonight's game against Estancia.
"It's all about this game," he added. "We have to take care of Estancia before we can go anywhere else. We have to work hard from the get-go and play a solid four quarters of football. I think we're ready for this game. The kids have looked inspired at practice all week."