After two weeks of playing on the road, the Laguna Beach High football team is home today and ready to play in the friendly confines of Guyer Field.
At 7 p.m., the Breakers (0-3) will host Mary Star of the Sea of San Pedro in nonleague play. It's Laguna's first home game since its Sept. 10 season opener against Northwood.
Last week, Laguna went to Torrance and was defeated by Bishop Montgomery, 48-18. The Breakers had taken a 6-0 first-quarter lead on the strength of a 47-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Larry Stewart to Robert Clemons, and drew to within 14-12 of the Knights in the second quarter after Stewart and Derek Riegel hooked up on a five-yard scoring pass. But Bishop Montgomery pulled away from there, scoring 34 consecutive points over the second and third quarters to run out to a 48-12 lead.
Stewart, in his first varsity start, threw for 150 yards and three touchdowns. His final TD pass covered 12 yards to Riegel.
"We were playing pretty well at the start, but then the wheels fell off," said Laguna Beach Coach Jonathan Todd whose team was without several starters due to injury or illness. "Defensively, I thought we played very well in the first half and contained their running back. We were tackling better, too. But we had a fumble on a kickoff and two picks that led to easy scores for them.
"I also felt that Larry (Stewart) did a good job of running our offense. He put together three really good drives and that was great to see. Derek Riegel also had a great game. He was out go-to guy and filled in nicely for Chris Paul. Zach Jaffe ran the ball well, as well, and did a nice job of filling our need at running back. He'll start again Friday."
Stewart played in place of senior starter Austin Paxson who was out ill. Todd said that Paxson practiced Wednesday and will start today's game. Paul, Laguna's leading receiver who also missed the Bishop Montgomery game due to injury, also will be back.
In addition, inside linebacker Steven Harrison returns to the line-up after sitting out the past two games.
Like Laguna, Mary Star of the Sea also is seeking its first win in 2010. The Stars are 0-3, having lost to Notre Dame/Riverside (45-21), El Segundo (63-7) and in their last game on Sept. 17, were edged by Aquinas (27-24). In the loss to Aquinas, running back Andrew Gonzalez rushed 15 times for 225 yards and scored on an 80-yard run. Gonzales has gone over 100 yards in all three games and comes into today's contest averaging 153 yards a game.
"They are a lot like us…very similar," Todd said of the Saints. "They have struggled at times on defense. They have a good running back (Gonzalez) but are trying to find their identity on offense"