Football season finally set to kick off Friday

It has been a successful offseason for the Laguna Beach High football team.

On Friday, the fruits of the Breakers' hard labor will be unveiled for the first time when they open their 2012 season in Garden Grove against Bolsa Grande.

Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Bolsa Grande High. The host Matadors also are playing their season opener.

"I think physically, we are ready to play," second-year Laguna Head Coach Mike Churchill said. "The kids have worked hard in the weight room and on the field and throughout the summer and fall, we haven't sustained any injuries. The kids look to be ready."

The Breakers hit the practice field hard Monday through Wednesday this week, and had a lighter practice and walk-through Thursday.

"Right now, it's a mental game for us," Churchill said of his team's anticipation for Friday's opener. "At this stage, the kids who played on the team last year know the routine. This week, it's been about teaching the new kids to the team what to expect."

Laguna is coming off a 10-3 season that culminated in spot in the Southern Division semifinals.

"I really think this group will be a lot different team than last year's team. We are a bigger team than a year ago, and like last year, we have a lot of team speed. We have a lot of kids going both ways, so we're hoping to see other guys step up."

Bolsa Grande went 4-6 last year under first-year Coach Simon Fuentes, winning two of their final three games to close out the season. Churchill had the chance to catch the Matadors in their preseason scrimmage against Santa Ana on Aug. 24.

"They had a brand new coach last year and he came in and won four games," Churchill said. "I was impressed by what he did. They throw the football a lot and they do different things in the secondary that we don't see in our league. It'll be a challenge."

The Matadors return just three starters from a year ago. One of the returnees is senior running back Michael Marquez. Last fall, Marquez averaged six yards per carry and was named All-Garden Grove League.

Twitter: @MikeSciacca

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