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Mike Sciacca The 32 players on the 2002 Laguna Beach...

October 18, 2002

Mike Sciacca

The 32 players on the 2002 Laguna Beach High football team were

mere babies, some even in diapers, the last time it happened high on

the hill.

The year was 1987, and it was the last time Laguna Beach had ruled

the roost in Pacific Coast League football.

The Breakers -- or Artists, as they then were known -- went

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undefeated in PCL play and took the league's No. 1 seed into CIF

playoff action, reaching the second round before having their season

ended by St. Joseph.

That 10-2 season in 1987 was the school's best since Laguna won

its first 10 games of the 1968 season, winning the Crestview League

title in the process, but then saw the program's most successful

season since 1946 halted by Rolling Hills in the first round of the

playoffs.

They are the only two teams in school history to reach the

10-victory plateau.

The '87 squad was the last Laguna team to earn a playoff berth.

But if the current Breakers can play as intensely over these next

five weeks as is their desire to end that drought, then Laguna just

might be a part of the Division IX postseason party come

mid-November.

"It's been a long time and our team is hungry," two-way starter

Marshall Paymard said. "My goal -- and I know I can speak for our

entire team -- is to win league and make the playoffs. We want to be

playing late into November."

Last year, Laguna posted an overall record of 6-4 -- the school's

best and only winning record since that memorable '87 season.

They went 5-0 in nonleague play but were just 1-4 in league, which

sidelined them for the season.

This fall, Laguna brings a 4-1 overall record into Saturday's

opener against PCL newcomer Calvary Chapel.

"This team is different than last year's team," said Breakers

coach Dave Holland, now in his seventh year at the helm. "The players

we have this year are a small group but big in terms of hard work and

dedication. They really play well together as a team."

That team camaraderie may be just what Laguna needs to get over

the hump.

No Laguna team has won more than one league game on the field

since 1988, although, in the official league record book, it is noted

that Laguna did win two games in '98. One of those two wins was

awarded as a forfeit victory.

The favorite for the 2002 PCL crown, Holland, says, is defending

champion Northwood.

"I think they are the hands-down favorite to repeat," he said.

"They have a lot of experience and a big pool of players to draw

from.

"I see the same teams -- Corona del Mar, University -- fighting

for the top. But, I really like our chances."

One key to Laguna's success in 2002 has been its ability to show

balance offensively. They'll pit that balance against a balanced

Northwood squad, a Corona del Mar team that favors the run and

pass-happy offenses similar to University and Calvary Chapel.

"I'm very high on our team and the rest of our coaching staff has

done a terrific job in working together," Holland said. "I know this

is coach's talk, but to win this league, first of all, we need to

keep injuries to a minimum. "I think our secondary has done well but

we need to improve to off-set some of these passing teams in our

league. Really, the key is to just have steady improvement."

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