First game could decide league crown

Undefeated Laguna Beach, ranked fifth in CIF, opens Orange Coast League play against defending-champion Estancia, the sixth-ranked team in the division.

October 13, 2011|By Mike Sciacca

The Laguna Beach football team might be rolling along at 5-0, but on Friday it's the start of a whole new season.

And it's the most important part of the 2011 campaign.

This is the week that the Orange Coast League race begins, where all five league members start out on equal footing. Laguna begins its quest for an OCL championship at 7 p.m. at Guyer Field. To get to the top of the heat, one team the Breakers will need to get past is Estancia, the league's defending champion. The Breakers and Eagles (3-2) square off Friday in a game that is certain to go a long way in determining the league's 2011 champ.

What's more, it's a showdown that pits the CIF Southern Section Southern Division's fifth-ranked team (Laguna) against the sixth-ranked team (Estancia).


It's also Laguna's homecoming game.

"We've been talking about it all week," Laguna Coach Mike Churchill. "No question that they (Estancia) are a pretty darn good team. But we're pretty good, too. It's a big opening night game for both teams."

Laguna is returning home for the first time in three weeks following a two-game road swing. Two weeks ago, the Breakers defeated Mary Star of the Sea in San Pedro. Last Friday, they traveled to Fontana, where they overwhelmed Jurupa Hills, 56-14. The Breakers rolled up 466 yards of offense, with 319 coming on the ground. The defense yielded just 173 total yards and gave up just one score (Jurupa Hills scored its first touchdown on a fumble return).

Drake Martinez rushed for 178 yards on 19 carries and scored three times and Norton Penney, who had an interception on defense, ran for 78 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries to lead the run game. Martinez also had a big hit from his safety position on defense in the third quarter that Churchill said "pumped up" the Breakers. Jurupa Hills quarterback Damion Wright took off around end and started upfield but was met by Martinez, who planted Wright on the spot.

"It was a big play for us and kind of woke us up," Churchill said. "We started the game really good, but hit a flat spot at the tail end of the second quarter. We had the lead at halftime, but Drake's play seemed to get us going again.

"We're getting better on defense, and that's what's important."

Laguna quarterback Larry Stewart also had a big game, completing seven of nine passes for 148 yards and two touchdown passes to Derek Reigel (his only two receptions of the game) and one to Martinez.

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