Breaker defense was stellar as Laguna stunned the Buccaneers (4-1) in a home game at Guyer Field on Friday, Sept. 13. The visitors, ranked #2 in D-12, were averaging 38 points per game in scoring but struggled most of the evening on getting any offensive rhythm.
Laguna’s first possession end in an interception returned to the Laguna 35 yard line. Bellflower made 10 yards on a pass play but then stalled having a fourth-down try fail on an incomplete pass. The Breakers then marched 80 yards in 16 plays scoring on a sideline lob toss to Raul Villalobos on the Laguna two yard line by a scrambling Andrew Johnson. Raul took the toss and tip-toed his way into the end zone. Handel’s kick was good.
The teams traded punts twice into the second quarter when the visitors connected on a perfect pass play on a third down and 13 from literally the one-inch line to connect on a record pass play. After that neither team could get beyond the middle of the field.
Bellflower took the second half kickoff and made one nice pass play before pressure from the Breaker pass rush forced a fumble recovered on the visitors 26 yard line. After three plays and a penalty Laguna went for the field goal and Noah Handel connected for the first one of the season (and his seventh career). The ensuing kickoff was another of the four touchbacks by Handel, giving Bellflower the ball on their 20. Three plays and two penalties later had the Buccaneers punting from their end zone, giving Laguna a short field. On the second play, Johnson made a clean pass to Villalobos for the longest Laguna play of the evening for the score. At that point, Bellflower changed their offensive plan, opting for short pass plays. Their first possession gained 37 yards on 11 plays before being forced to punt. That kick pinned Laguna on the one foot line, but they managed to get out to the 25 yard line before punting just before the end of the quarter.
Bellflower was now more confident as they went 63 yards on nine plays to pull within three points with about 8.5 minutes remaining. After a three and out Laguna possession, the fans became anxious as the momentum swung to the visitors. Bellflower’s next possession went 11 plays before two incompletes and a sack turned the ball over on downs. Laguna kept the ball on the ground, driving to the Bellflower 25 before they gave the ball back to the Buccaneers for a final try to win with only 30 seconds remaining. Each Bellflower pass play minimized the clock time lost and they were able to move to the Laguna 37 in five plays for one last try. The fans were standing and the pressure was on as Bellflower tried a Hail Mary-type play. The quarterback was chased by Shane Lythgoe out of the pocket and was forced to blindly throw the ball to the end zone with four Breaker defenders in position to prevent a score by the lone Bellflower receiver. The pass was batted down and the players rushed together to celebrate the upset.
Up next: Laguna travels to Estancia (3-1) in the 30th meeting between the schools. Eagles will be trying to bounce back after taking a beating from Ocean View last week. The following week, Laguna travels to Marina (2-3) then hosts division foe Rio Hondo (4-0) for homecoming on Oct. 5.
D-12 Rankings: 1 – Linfield Christian, 2 – Carpinteria, 3 – Rio Hondo, 4 – Arrowhead Christian, 5 – Thaquitz, 6 – Bellflower, 7 – Santa Clarita Christian, 8 – Laguna Beach, 9 – Ramona, 10 – Northwood.
2018 Laguna Football Game #4 vs. Bellflower Statistics:
L – Villalobos 10 pass from Johnson (Handel kick) 1:43 1stQ
B – Okeke 99 pass from Garza (Chavez kick 7:37 2ndQ
L – Handel 39 FG 9:06 3rdQ
L – Villalobos 39 pass from Johnson (Handel kick) 6:42 3rdQ
B – Lawson 32 pass from Morales (Chavez kick) 8:34 4thQ
Rushing: Lythgoe 21-42, Johnson 6-(29), Harper 1-(1)
Receiving:Villalobos 5-60, Diver 3-22, Lythgoe 3-2, Ball 3-33, Crawford 1-14, Nolan 1-13,
Passing: Johnson 30-16-1 144 yards 2 TDS 109.0 rating
Punt Returns: Nolan 1-0
Kick Off Returns: Nolan 2-37, Tyrell 1-3
Punts: Nolan 6-270 45.0 2 inside 20
Kick Offs: Handel 4, 4 touchbacks
Pass defense rating (NCAA formula): 132.80, YTD = 91.9
Sean Nolan is 7th in career points with 182, 5th in receiving yards (1,446), 3rd in catches (108) and 2nd in receiving TDs (19)
Noah Handel is 6th in career kick scoring, 4th in career field goals (7)