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Wait is finally over

Laguna Beach kicks off much-anticipated 2010 prep football season with home game Sept. 10.

September 02, 2010|By Mike Sciacca, michael.sciacca@latimes.com
  • [Laguna Beach quarterback Austin Paxson.
[Laguna Beach quarterback Austin Paxson. (KENT TREPTOW, Coastline…)

Weeks of heavy lifting and heavy hitting, and having to mix it up with each other, has brought the Laguna Beach High football team to the cusp of a new season.

While the Breakers officially open their 2010 regular season campaign Sept. 10 at home against Northwood, they'll continue to work on all phases of their game as well as work out the kinks, when they host another Irvine school, University, in a 3 p.m. scrimmage today at Guyer Field.

One thing's certain: the Breakers are ready to go.

"We're really excited for the season," said Jonathan Todd, who begins his fourth year as head coach at his alma mater. "We have a lot of talented kids on this team, a lot of playmakers. This team has the potential to have a great year."

Todd has 10 players returning from a 2009 squad that went 5-6 overall, went undefeated (4-0) en route to winning the Orange Coast League championship and reached the CIF playoffs. The Breakers begin the new season with a No. 4 ranking in the preseason CIF Southern Division Top 10 poll.

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But before the season even began, during the first week of hitting two weeks ago, the Breakers suffered a blow when senior Michael Hyden (5-10, 190), who was scheduled to start at running back along with junior Norton Penney Jr. (5-10, 185), broke his leg during practice.

"That was tough," Todd said. "But we should have Michael back by the time league starts."

Todd sad that sophomore Drake Martinez (6-1, 175), who played frosh/soph football last fall, will fill in for Hyden.

"Drake is a tough, competitive kid, and we have a lot of confidence in him," said Todd who noted that Martinez, Penney and senior receiver Chris Paul (6-1, 180) all run a 4.55 40-yard dash.

The offense is in the experienced hands of senior quarterback Austin Paxson (6-0, 165), who last year was first-team all-league, All-CIF and accounted for 26 touchdowns. His favorite target last year was Paul, who was among the county leaders last fall. Paul, the MVP of the Orange Coast League and All-CIF, had 909 receiving yards. Junior wide receiver Derek Reigel (6-1, 190) had 223 receiving yards a year ago.

Other returning all-league players are senior center Taylor Preston (5-10, 200), junior tackle Ricki Delatorre (6-2, 240) and senior outside linebacker Shane Selfridge (5-10, 175).

Defensively, Paul is the team's leading returning tackler (66) and the strong safety also had two interceptions. Sophomore cornerback Robert Clemons (6-0, 165) had 38 tackles and also a pair of interceptions.

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