In a back-and-forth game, just a few plays would make the difference.
The Laguna Beach High football team kept up with Beckman for nearly all of the teams’ CIF Southern Section Southern Division first-round playoff game on Nov. 20. But, in the end, the Patriots got the fourth-quarter stops they needed as they pulled out a 35-28 win, ending Laguna’s season.
The Breakers finish with a final record of 5-6.
“It was a shootout," Laguna Coach Jonathan Todd said of the game against Beckman. “I was proud of the kids. I think they played hard. We just had some executing problems on offense. I think in the end, that’s what hurt us, but we were going toe-to-toe with them."
The teams were tied, 21-21, at halftime, but the Breakers took a seven-point lead in the third quarter on Austin Paxson’s 24-yard touchdown pass to Chris Paul. But that was the Breakers’ last score of the game, and Beckman (7-3-1) countered with two fourth-quarter touchdown runs to retake the lead.
Laguna had a chance on its last drive, as a pass to Derek Reigel gave the Breakers a first down at the Beckman 40-yard line. But a two-yard loss, followed by a penalty, drove the Breakers back, and three straight passes were incomplete to give Beckman the ball back.
Paxson threw for 244 yards and touchdowns, one to Paul and one to Regiel. Paul finished with 105 yards on five catches, and Reigel had 97 yards on his eight grabs.
Senior Alec Jaffe carried the ball 18 times for 88 yards for Laguna Beach, which gave up 347 yards rushing. All of Beckman’s touchdowns came on the ground.
“I was really happy with how the offense played and I Was glad to see the defense come together at the end of the year and win league," Todd said. “I’m excited for next year. We’ll miss our seniors a lot but the future looks bright."
Beckman plays at Garden Grove in the second round tonight.