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High School Football: Breakers use dramatic flair

Laguna Beach, fresh off late-second win over Northwood, faces Garden Grove in semifinals of memorable season.

November 21, 2012|By Mike Sciacca
(Don Leach | Coastline…)

The team with the most victories in a single season in Laguna Beach High football history is a step away from achieving another milestone.

The No. 2-seeded Breakers face their next challenge Friday in what already has become a memorable season when they battle No. 3-seeded Garden Grove in a CIF Southern Section Southern Division semifinal game. To the winner, goes a spot in the division championship game Dec. 1 at Angel Stadium.

Friday's kickoff is 7 p.m. at Garden Grove High.

Laguna played its final home game of the season on Nov. 16 and scored a thrilling, 28-21 quarterfinal round win over Northwood at Guyer Field. The last-second triumph not only advanced the Breakers on to the semifinals for a second straight year, it also vaulted them to a place where no previous Laguna team had gone in 77 previous years: to 11 victories in a single season.

The 1968, 1987 and 2011 teams each won 10 games.

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At 11-0-1 overall, the Breakers have tied the school record for an unbeaten streak at 12 games.

"To do something that no other football team at this school has done before, is something these players have a lot to be proud of," Laguna Coach Mike Churchill said. "The kids enjoyed the moment. For our senior players, this is the last time they would ever play on this [Guyer] field. That's a pretty special way for them to go out. This group has achieved a lot."

Laguna pieced together a scintillating, game-winning drive in the closing minutes to defeat Northwood. The Breakers went 81 yards to score, converting several key, fourth down plays along the way, to keep the drive alive. It culminated when senior quarterback Larry Stewart, on a bootleg, found junior receiver Jake Hexberg in the end zone to complete a 12-yard touchdown pass with 14 seconds remaining.

"We had some adversity but the kids really stepped up," Churchill said. "That was a great drive we had to win it there at the end. Everyone contributed in some way.

"Our kids came up big with the game on the line. Robert Clemons had a great, clutch catch on a fourth-down play to keep the drive alive, Drake [Martinez] ran hard all night and had a big fourth down run, and our offensive line just did a great job. The line was great all game. Heck, they've been great all season. They haven't given up a sack this year."

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