Laguna’s magical football season came to an end last Friday as the sheer odds of playing a school 60 percent larger proved too much to overcome. Corona del Mar wore the Breakers down to win 41-14 before one of the largest crowds of the past 60 years at Guyer Field.
Fans arrived hours early due to the scarcity of parking since the game occurred on Hospitality Night, where crowds converged to witness Santa’s arrival, entertainment and seasonal treats. Downtown visitors took up parking areas around the high school field well before game time.
The crowd that came to watch the most powerful offensive team in the school’s 77 years saw a defensive battle, but Laguna’s squad, playing both offense and defense, were no match for the platoon from the north.
Breakers (10-3) were able to limit and stifle the Sea Kings (11-2) air game but as expected surrendered over 400 yards on the ground. The biggest difference compared to the other playoff games was the three linebackers on the Corona side that gave Breakers’ quarterback Larry Stewart and the Laguna backfield little time to execute their plays.
The early going was a real battle with Corona scoring on their first, five-play drive while Laguna went 68 yards on their second try but were unable to score. The Sea Kings made it 13-0 early in the second quarter on Stewart’s fourth interception of the season. It was 20-0 by midway in the period when Corona went 54 yards on seven running plays to score again.
Laguna made a solid attempt to get back in the game when Robert Clemons took the ensuing kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown. Breakers then held Corona on a nine-play drive forcing a punt. The final Laguna drive of the first half went 74 yards before the Sea Kings finally held just before halftime. Two big plays of the drive were a 27-yard pass to Robert Clemons and a pass to Drake Martinez that ended up covering 48 yards.
The teams traded possessions early in the second half before the two-way Laguna players finally caved in. The Breakers lone offensive touchdown came in the closing minute of the game after sophomore back Nathan Lancaster rambled 60 yards to get Laguna in striking range of the goal.
Overall, Drake Martinez was the most consistent offensive player gaining 149 yards at nearly nine-yards per carry.
Laguna returns Martinez and a number of talented players next season. A complete list of the records set will be issued when team awards are released after the holidays.
Photos by Doug Landrum.