Laguna's aerial attack hits the mark

The first victory in the 2010 prep football season for the Laguna Beach Breakers was also one for the record books.

At Guyer Field last Friday, Laguna defeated visiting Mary Star of the Sea, 26-21. It was the first home game in three weeks for the Breakers (1-3).

Not only will the win go into the program's annals, so will a couple of big performances by a pair of big-play Breakers.

Senior quarterback Austin Paxson, who missed the Sept. 24 game at Bishop Montgomery because of illness and missed the entire second half of the Breakers' previous game, Sept. 17 at Ocean View, because of an injury to his throwing hand, returned to action in a big way against the Stars. Paxson threw for 349 yards and four touchdowns on an 18-for-24 night. The yardage was a school single-game record, breaking the previous single-game mark of 333 passing yards set by Alex Wilson against Calvary Chapel in 2002.

With those gaudy numbers, Paxson also became the school's career passing yards leader with 3,860. He broke the career mark, 3,629 yards, set between 1992-93 by Pat Wood.

All four of Paxson's touchdown passes, covering 63, five, 19 and 77 yards, went to junior receiver Chris Paul, who also missed the Bishop Montgomery game because of a concussion he sustained in the Ocean View game. In the process, Paul set school single-game records for receiving yards (241, breaking the previous mark of 224 yards set by Jeff Cummings against Buena Park in 1985) and tied the record he held for touchdown receptions.

In addition, both Paxson and Paul extended school records they already held: Paxson for career passing touchdowns (now at 44) and Paul for career catches (126) and career touchdown receptions (34).

"They both had an amazing night," Laguna Coach Jonathan Todd said. "We weren't running the ball well and those two came through in a big way.

"The thing about Austin is that he just makes plays. He's very athletic. On one of those touchdown passes, there was a little pressure on him but he ad-libbed in our wheel route, stepped away from the pressure and hit Chris with a really nice pass."

With more records secured in the books, the Breakers this week turned their attention to tonight's game. They'll travel to Hesperia to face Oak Hills in their final tune-up before the start of Orange Coast League play next week.

Oak Hill comes into tonight's 7 p.m. game at 2-2 and last week lost, 25-14 to A.B. Miller of Fontana. The Bulldogs are led on offense by a talented running duo in senior Jeremiah Armstead and junior Marshaun Coprich. The two have combine for 575 of the Bulldogs' 706 rushing yards and five touchdowns this season.

Before the season started, Todd went down the schedule and noted that today's game would be Laguna's toughest test.

"They'll want to run the ball and they have a running back (Armstead) who is a legitimate Division I back," Todd said of Armstead, who last year rushed for 1,700 yards. "When we played them last year, they didn't have a senior on the team and I think they still ended up winning their league. This year, they return all their starters.

Last year, the Bulldogs defeated the Breakers, 43-29.

"A.B. Miller sort of shut down Oak Hills' run game last week, so they went to the pass and did pretty well," Todd continued. "This week, we've been preparing to see both from them. But they'll want to establish the run on us, that's for sure. This will definitely be our stiffest challenge of the season."

Mary Star of the Sea found success with its ground game last week, and Todd knows that the Breakers will need to shore up the running game if they hope to beat the Bulldogs. But with the game on the line last week, the Breakers defense came up big by stopping Mary Star on fourth down deep in Laguna late in the game.

Todd said that Ricki Delatorre played a great game at defensive end, and that Travis Clawson had another big game, calling the tight end/defensive end "a rock" for the team in the past month.

"Our defense will be tested by Oak Hill, but that goal line stand against Mary Star was a character-building type of thing for us, and we needed that," Todd said. "We hope to build on that.

"We also needed to get that first win. The kids have been working hard. We're young and some of these kids are still learning their positions. Our guys faced some adversity in the Mary Star game, but they rose to the challenge and met it head on. That's great to see, and I'm happy for them that they got the win."

Running back/cornerback Norty Penney, who had sat out the previous month with an injury, saw playing time against Mary Star. Todd said the junior will start at running back and rotate at corner tonight.

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