Chris Paul returns to set school scoring record
Laguna won their first conference game of an injury battered season with a surprising 21-14 victory over Costa Mesa (3-6, 2-2) at Estancia’s Scott Field last Friday night.
Chris Paul returned to action playing only offense most of the game until the last defensive series when he went in to help preserve the victory. Paul’s pass reception allowed the senior to break the all-time Laguna career scoring record held by Donelle Darling (2000-02). Paul has caught 37 career touchdown passes, just two away from tying the all-time county record.
Breakers (2-7, 1-3) dominated the contest rolling up over 400 yards total offense and played great defense when needed to stymie the Mustangs quest to capture their third league title in four years.
The game opened with the two teams having to punt with little offensive success. Mesa appeared to get the initial advantage, returning a Breaker punt 38 yards to the Laguna 25 to start their second try. The Mustangs were on their way to a quick score when Robert Clemons III picked off a pass on the goal line, returning the ball 15 yards. Laguna then methodically took the ball 85 yards in 16 plays to finally score on a pass to Paul with the final play coming at the opening of the second quarter.
Breakers then held the Mustangs to four plays and proceeded to march 73 yards in six plays to go ahead 14-0. The key play in the drive was a 43-pass play that started with a direct snap to Clemons followed by a hand off to Paul and a lateral to Austin Paxson before a long pass was launched back to Clemons for a big gain against the confused Mustang defense. Mustangs finally got back into the game with a big run with less than three minutes remaining in the half.
A minute later it was 21-7 as Laguna marched 80 yards on three quick pass plays and a goal-line interception by Miles Shirley to stop Mesa from scoring.
In the second half, Breakers had the ball only once in the third period, marching 66 yards in 12 plays before missing a 42 yard field goal. Laguna had another long ball-control drive in the fourth quarter, missing a 26 yard field goal with just under three minutes remaining in the contest. Mesa did all they could to force an overtime game, moving 50-yards in 11 plays on their final possession before a fumbled snap followed by a “hail Mary” toss ended the contest to the relief and joy of the Breakers.
Photo by Robert Campbell
Seniors Austin Paxson (2) and Chris Paul (1) are the most prolific passing combo in Laguna history. They closeout their careers tonight, Nov. 12, at Guyer Field.
1st 2nd 3rd 4th
Laguna 0 21 0 0 – 21
Costa Mesa 0 7 7 0 – 14
L – Paul 19 pass from Paxton (Paxton kick)
L – Hyden 6 run(Paxton kick)
M – 41 run (kick)
L – Paul 36 pass from Paxton (Paxton kick)
M- 31 Interception return (kick)
1st Downs 22 12
Rush/Yds 30-101 29-159
Pass Yds 317 113
C-A-I 19-30-1 9-19-2
Plays/TYG 60-418 48-272
Fumbles/Lost 1-1 3-0
Return Yds 23 73
Punts/Ave 2-35.5 3-44.7
Penalties/Yds 10-58 10-90
Rushing: Penney 11-38, Hyden 9-36, Paul 1-8, Jaffe 3-1, Paxton 4-10, Clemons 2-8
Receiving: Paul 8-149, Reigel 2-21, Clemons 4-90, Stewart 1-7, Penney 4-50
Passing: Paxton 30-19-1 317 2 TDs 167.4 rating
Punt Return: Clemons 1-4
Interception Return: Shirley 1-4, Clemons 1-15
Punting: Paxton 2-71
Chris Paul set Career scoring record at 246, (Old Record, 238 by Donelle Darling 2000-02)
317 single game passing by Austin Paxton 4th most in school history
Chris Paul’s 2,354 career yards receiving – new school record (Old record 2,252 Eric Fegraus 89-91)