Breakers Air It Out 49-39
Laguna Beach High School Football (3-7, 2-3) closed out their injury riddled season with a wild 49-39 victory over Saddleback (1-9, 0-6) last Friday night at Guyer Field. Outgoing seniors Chris Paul and Austin Paxson, two of only five seniors on the squad, made their last game one for the record books in the 76 seasons of varsity football on Park Avenue.
Standing out from the bevy of school, game and career records set Friday was Paul’s Orange County mark of 42 career touchdown receptions, which broke the county mark of 39 set by Jeremy Childs of Los Alamitos in 2002-04. Only four other players in Southern Section history have caught more TDs than Paul, who will continue his sports career playing baseball for UC Santa Barbara next year.
The contest opened with Saddleback grinding out 77-yards in six plays before settling in on a 20-yard field goal to take an early 3-0 lead. Breakers struck back in just over a minute to score on the third Paxson-to-Paul catch of the drive with just over seven minutes remaining in the period. Paxson connected on his first of seven extra points to give Laguna a 7-3 lead. The Roadrunners came right back with another 11-play drive to take their last lead of the evening at 10-7.
Saddleback kept to the ground all evening with 73 rushing plays; they attempted only five passes and all were incomplete. The time consuming attack left little time for Laguna to perform and the Breakers were quick on each score with success on seven of their first eight possessions. The lone blemish was a shanked 27-yard field goal attempt on the last play of the first half. The kick came on second down as the Breakers ran out of time to score a touchdown.
Saddleback tried to keep Paul out of the offense but speedy Robert Clemons III proved just as effective taking a short pass from Paxson late in the first quarter then racing past the Roadrunner secondary for the Breakers second score. Clemons put the contest away in the third period when the Breakers stuffed Saddleback’s fourth down try, then on their first play from scrimmage had Robert scamper from the wildcat formation the full 80-yards to pay dirt. That put Laguna up 42-23 with less than 14 minutes remaining.
Saddleback’s next possession was a quick three plays and punt, setting up the Breakers last score. That trick play gave the impression of a Larry Stewart end run from a handoff from Paxson that opened Chris Paul deep in the secondary. Stewart, a sophomore, fired a long cross-field pass into Paul’s waiting arms for the 53-yard strike Breakers were up 49-23 at this point, early in the fourth quarter. Coach Jonathan Todd could have made the score much worse but settled on letting everyone play to enjoy the rare win over Saddleback.
Breakers finished the year in fourth place, just missing the playoffs due to their second half meltdown versus Godinez a few weeks ago. Laguna will lose five seniors including Michael Hyden, Taylor Preston and Ben Hanson. All five missed games this season due to injuries. The 2011 Breakers will return some outstanding players led by Robert Clemons III, Norton Penney, Jr., Derek Reigel, Larry Stewart, Zach Jaffe, Shane Selfridge, Miles Shirley, Travis Clawson and Drake Martinez.
1st 2nd 3rd 4th
Saddleback 10 7 6 16 39
Laguna Beach 14 7 21 7 49
S – 20 FG
L – Paul 18 pass from Paxson (Paxson kick)
S – 10 run (Kick)
L –Clemons 47 pass from Paxson (Paxson kick)
L – Paul 8 pass from Paxson (Paxson kick)
S – 2 run (kick)
L – Paul 21 pass from Paxson (Paxson kick)
S – 4 run (run failed)
L – Paul 26 pass from Paxson (Paxson kick)
L – Clemons 80 run (Paxson kick)
L – Paul 53 pass from Stewart (Paxson kick)
S – 1 run (run)
S – 1 run (Pass)
1st Downs 23 23
Rush/Yds 17-139 73-474
Pass Yds 330 0
C-A-I 17-24-0 0-5-0
Plays/TYG 41-469 78-474
Fumbles/Lost 1-1 1-0
Return Yds 0 0
Punts/Ave 1-51 0-0.0
Penalties/Yds 6-43 8-70
Hyden 9-37, Clemons 3-99, Jaffe 2-13, Paxson 1-(7), Martinez 1-(2), Team 1-(1)
Paul 8-191 5TD, Stewart 2-20, Clemons 6-113 1TF, Jaffe 1-6
Paxson 23-16-0 277 yards 5 TDs 242.5 rating
Stewart 1-1-0 53 yards 1 TD 875.2 rating
Net rating: 268.8
Kick Off returns:
Martinez 1-20, Paul 2-58. Clemons 2-44
Team: Most TD Passes – 6
Team: 23 First Downs (ties record)
TD Passes – 5 by Austin Paxson (ties record)
TD’s Game – 5 Chris Paul (ties record)
TD receptions Game – 5 Chris Paul
Points – game 30, Chris Paul (ties record)
7 PAT’s – game Austin Paxson (ties record)
191 Receiving yards by Paul 4th highest
88 combined points – 6th highest in school history.
Austin Paxson: Passing – 650-341-24 5,245 yards, 59 TDs, 142.8 rating
(old record Pat Wood: 472-256-28 3,569 yards, 28 TDs1992-93 127.8 rating)
Note: Paxson’s TD mark is the 8th best in Orange County history.
Chris Paul :Receiving – 151 catches, 2,545 yards, 42 TDS
(Old record Eric Fegraus: 117 catches 2,252 yards, 14 TDs 1989-91)