Laguna Beach continues to get better

It's eight weeks into the season and Laguna Beach High football Coach Mike Churchill likes the progress his team is making.

Sure, the Breakers have not lost in their first eight games while establishing themselves as the team to beat in the Orange Coast League. That would probably make any coach happy.

What has impressed the veteran coach more, though, has been his squad's ability to move in the right direction.

"For me, the big thing is that we continue to improve," he said. "The kids came out in excellent fashion against Calvary (Chapel) and really played well. We got to play a lot of kids, and that was great, especially on homecoming. That's the big thing about that game — we won on homecoming."

The Breakers had Calvary Chapel beat by halftime. They ran just 20 plays in the opening half but held an insurmountable 56-0 lead. A running clock was used for the second half and when the final second ticked away, the Breakers had a 56-13 victory in hand. It was just the sixth time since 1982 that Laguna had won its homecoming game.

The win put Laguna at 3-0 in league and kept the Breakers alone in first place. They are 7-0-1 and enter Friday's Senior Night game against Godinez ranked second in the CIF Southern Section Southern Division.

The final home game of the regular season kicks off at 7 p.m. at Guyer Field.

"I thought our offensive line has really played well the last few weeks." Churchill said. "They've been opening up big holes and doing a great job. All three of our (running) backs went for over 100 yards. Drake (Martinez) was all over the place and had another big game."

Martinez rushed for 146 yards on seven carries. The senior scored on runs of 90 and seven yards, caught an eight-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Larry Stewart and returned an interception 79 yards for another score. The interception gave him the school record for career interception returns for a touchdown at four.

Nathan Lancaster ran just three times but amassed 120 yards, including touchdown runs of 52 and 57 yards, and also scored on a one-yard pass from Stewart. Robert Clemons had just four touches and ran up 112 yards, including a 71-yard scoring run.

The 2012 Breakers are the second-highest scoring Laguna team in school history. With 415 points scored in eight games, they are within reach of the school record of 588 points scored in 13 games last year.

Heading into Friday's game, Laguna holds a one-game lead over both Estancia and Godinez, who share second place at 2-1. A victory Friday would give the Breakers a share of the league title, which would be their third title in seven years and first since 2009.

Godinez fell out of a share of first place last week by losing at home, 34-18, to Estancia. Quarterback Zach Huizar rushed for a touchdown and threw for 112 yards.

"They have some good-looking kids and are really a good defensive team," Churchill said of the Grizzlies, who trailed Estancia, 20-12, early in the fourth quarter. "I remember last year's game vividly. We ran five plays and were up, 21-0, but then kind of got into a malaise right before halftime. They came back on us, ate up all of the third quarter and Drake (Martinez) had to intercept a pass near the end to secure it."

Six days after taking on Godinez, Laguna closes out league and regular-season play at 7 p.m. Thursday against Costa Mesa at Orange Coast College.

Twitter: @MikeSciacca

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