High School Football: Laguna Beach overpowers University

IRVINE — There was plenty of buzz surrounding University High's first home game of the 2013 football season Thursday.

A big home crowd and a boisterous student body section, clad in unison in blue T-shirts, were on hand to usher in a new era in the program's history. School annals will tell them, years later, that the inaugural football game played in the school's new stadium, was won by the Laguna Beach Breakers.

Laguna led the entire way in the nonleague contest and used an opportunistic defense to take a 32-7 victory over the Trojans. It was the second win of the season for the Breakers who are 2-0.

Perhaps the Trojans, who fell to 0-2, suffered from a bit of stage fright in their new surroundings. They committed five turnovers, and Laguna took advantage of those miscues throughout the night.

"I had mentioned to the team before the game that how lucky they were to be playing the first game in a new stadium, and to play on such a beautiful field," Laguna Coach Corey Brown said. "This was a hard-fought win, and the kids earned it.

"The whole team contributed. We played assignment football."

The last Laguna win in the series with University came in 1985. Prior to Thursday's win, the Breakers had been 0-14-1 against the Trojans.

Laguna actually won a 21-20 overtime game in 2004, but later had to forfeit the game due to using ineligible players. The Breakers have only won four times in 26 games against the Trojans in a series dating to 1971. They previously won games in 1976, '77 and '85.

The teams played to a 36-36 tie last year.

"This was a big game for us," Brown said. "It was important for us to get the win, to keep the momentum going from last week."

Laguna got its season off to a big start Friday with a commanding, 48-17 victory over Bolsa Grande. In their first road test of the young season, the Breakers overcame a somewhat sluggish start Thursday to win comfortably.

Laguna scored four times following a University turnover. But the Breakers were far from error-free themselves: they turned the ball over three times.

"I can't equate that to anything, other than nerves, maybe," a puzzled Brown said of the miscues, a few which ended potential scoring drives deep in University territory.

Laguna fumbled the ball away on its firs possession after reaching the University 29-yard line. On a first down play, sophomore quarterback Jack Simon had the ball slip out of his hands, and the Trojans' Andrew Montoya pounced on the loose ball.

The turnover wasn't costly and the Breakers did catch a break minutes later when defensive back Andres DeLaRosa recovered a muffed punt return by the Trojans' Matt Abellaneda at the University 44. Five plays later, DeLaRosa finished off what he had started by taking off around right end for a 35-yard touchdown run. The senior running back hugged the Laguna sideline the final 20 yards to score.

The score came one play after senior running back Nathan Lancaster had gained five yards on a fourth-down run to keep the drive alive. Lancaster also added the extra point for a 7-0 lead with 5:03 left in the quarter.

DeLaRosa scored his second rushing touchdown early in the second quarter on an eight-yard burst up the middle. A tackle-breaking, 15-yard run by Lancaster, followed by an 18-yard pass from Simon to Keaton Martinez, preceded DeLaRosa's run.

It was 14-0 less than two minutes into the second quarter, but the lead would quickly expand moments later.

Lancaster, who also handles Laguna's kickoff chores, sent a line-drive squib kick that shot off a University player and was recovered by the Breakers at the University 47. Three plays later, junior running back Ethan Chesley went straight up the middle and scored on a 40-yard run. Chesley broke away from the grip of the Trojans defensive back Brad Huber at the five to reach the end zone.

The score pushed Laguna's lead to 20-0, a score that stood at the half.

A week ago, the Breakers held a 48-3 halftime lead on Bolsa Grande.

"I thought our line really opened up holes in the first half, just like they did in the Bolsa game," Brown said. "I was pleased with the way they played."

University had three turnovers in the first half. Two minutes into the second half, the Trojans turned the ball over again. Junior lineman Adam Luecke recovered a fumble at the University 21 and two plays later, Lancaster took a pitch around right end for a 16-yard touchdown run. The lead was 26-0.

University, which was shutout, 35-0 in its opener last week by Segerstrom, scored its first touchdown of the season in the final minute of the third quarter when Abellaneda scored on a 26-yard run on a fourth-and-two play.

The Trojans got the ball back two players later when lineman Brandon Dehdashtian recovered a Chesley fumble at the Laguna 47 on the final play of the quarter. The Trojans marched down to the three and on the 14th play of the drive, they again fumbled and outside linebacker LB Graves made the recovery. Laguna took over at its own four.

That set up the final scoring drive of the night. The Breakers needed only five plays to cover 96 yards. DeLaRosa rambled for a 27 yards gain to move the ball out to the 46 and Lancaster broke two tackles on the next play en route to a 54-yard scoring run with 3:45 left.

Lancaster, who rushed for a career-high 223 yards in last week's win over Bolsa Grande, gained 176 yards on 18 carries against the Trojans. DeLaRosa rushed four times for 70 yards, and Chesley had 62 yards on eight carries.

Laguna returns home next week to host Rancho Dominguez at 7 p.m. Sept. 20.

Breakers Schedule (2-0)

48...Bolsa Grande...17

32...at University...7

Sept. 20: Rancho Dominguez, 7 p.m.

Sept. 27: at St. Margaret's, 7 p.m.

Oct. 4: Northwood, 7 p.m.

Oct. 11: vs. *Saddleback (at Segerstrom High), 7 p.m.

Oct. 18: *Estancia (homecoming), 7 p.m.

Oct. 24: vs. *Calvary Chapel (at Estancia High), 7 p.m.

Oct. 31: vs. *Godinez (at Segerstrom High), 7 p.m.

Nov. 8: *Costa Mesa (Senior Night), 7 p.m.

(*denotes Orange Coast League game)

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