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Breakers Slip By Northwood

Drake Martinez sheds a tackle by Northwood defensive back, Carter Padgham, to score Laguna’s third touchdown on a 64 yard run. Photo by Doug Landrum

With seconds remaining in a game tied at the five-minute mark, Laguna Beach High School’s quarterback Larry Stewart fired a 12-yard pass to Jake Hexberg to lift the Breakers to a thrilling 28-21 victory over Northwood (5-7) in the CIF Southern Division quarterfinal playoff last Friday night at home.

The victory moves Laguna to the semifinal playoff this Friday, Nov. 23, at Garden Grove. Kickoff time is 7 p.m.

The Breaker win over the Timberwolves was the first since 2000 when Laguna prevailed 31-21 over a senior-less Northwood squad. Since then, the team had lost six straight encounters prior to Friday’s win.

Laguna will face the toughest test of the season against Garden Grove, (10-2) led by a trio of running backs. Laguna is 10-13-0 in the 23 previous meetings with the Argonauts, last earning a victory in 1953. The two schools last met in 2009, a 41-6 Breaker loss.

Laguna earned their eighth appearance in the semifinal by overcoming penalties and calls that evened up the score.

The contest opened with Laguna looking like they would have a classic kick return but the official ruled Drake Martinez’s back foot touched the goal line so a touchback was awarded. Laguna moved the ball 36 yards in five plays but a holding penalty call on an apparent 56-yard touchdown by Nathan Lancaster stalled the drive.

The two teams traded possessions before Northwood mounted a significant drive that took 10 plays to the Laguna two yard line.  A bad snap resulted in a recovery by Laguna on the 13-yard line. A seven play drive was capped by  Martinez running the last 50 yards for the score.

Northwood returned the favor with an 18-play, 80-yard drive of their own that the Breakers appeared to stop mid-way. Instead, the team was fooled by a fourth down, fake-punt play in mid-field to keep the visitor’s in possession.

Breakers made it 14-7 marching 80-yards on nine plays with just over a minute remaining in the half.

The second half started with a Timberwolf possession that self-destructed with two penalties and a sack before the visitors had to punt. Laguna quickly scored in a three-play drive to make the score 21-7.

Breakers seemed a little complacent on the ensuing Northwood possession as the Timberwolves were able to return the kickoff 36 yards to midfield and then proceeded to march the remaining 59 yards on 10 plays to cut the Breaker lead just before the end of the quarter.

Laguna appeared ready to score again but the drive stalled after 60 yards and a 36-yard field goal attempt went wide.

Northwood tied the game after moving 80 yards in 14 plays and a dead-ball foul to score. The touchdown ruling was delayed as one official argued that the ball had actually crossed the goal line before being fumbled.  With no-instant replay in high school – the score was called. The game film doesn’t appear to hold up the call and fortunately it ended up not affecting the final outcome.

The winning drive of 14 plays almost didn’t happen as Laguna needed a pair of third down plays and a fourth conversion to keep the momentum alive.  The final toss sent the home crowd and team into jubilation. Northwood’s last play after the kickoff touchback resulted in an 18-yard loss on a sack.

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

Northwood

0

7

7

7

21

Laguna Beach

0

14

7

7

28

L – Martinez 50 run (McInerny kick) 9:47 2nd Q

N – 1 run (kick) 3:12 2nd Q

L – Martinez 2 run (McInerny kick) 1:11 2nd Q

L – Martinez 64 run (McInerny kick) 5:55 3rd Q

N – 1 run (kick) 1:45 3rd Q

N – 6 pass (kick) 5:04 4th Q

L – Hexberg 12 pass from Stewart 0:07 4th Q

 

LB

NW

1st Downs

18

21

Rush/Yds

42-349

47-168

Pass Yds

79

124

C-A-I

7-12-0

12-22-0

Plays/TYG

54-428

69-292

Fumbles/Lost

0-0

1-1

Return Yds

0

0

Punts/Ave

2-23.5

2-33.5

Penalties/Yds

5-57

5-35

 

Individual Statistics

Rush:                                           Martinez 21-261, Lancaster 12-77, Clemons 5-14, Stewart 3-(3)m Team 1-0

Receiving:                                  Clemons 6-67, Hexberg 1-12

Passing:                                      Stewart 7-12-0 79 yds 1 TD  141.10 rating

Kick off Returns:                      Clemons 1-14

Punting:                                      Hexberg 2-47, 23.5 average

Kick Offs:                                   5 kicks, 3 touchbacks

 

Milestones:

Team:

11 season wins – new school record (old record 10 – 1968, 1987, 2011)

Unbeaten streak: record tied at 12

Player:

Drake Martinez:

261 yards rush, game – Drake Martinez ties for 7th in school history

19 Touchdowns – career 50 or more yards run/return – school record

Season scoring record:  points, touchdowns

Extended career rushing and scoring records

 

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