Laguna Beach Breakers Win SS-CIF Title

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Host State This Saturday at 6 p.m.

The Laguna Beach Breakers football team celebrates after winning the CIF Title against Diamond Bar. Photo by Alan Gibby/Zone57

After 76 seasons, Laguna Beach Breakers secured the school’s 48th team SSCIF Title and the first football title since the school’s first team title, in any sport, in 1946. The championship game was played on the road before a big crowd at Diamond Bar High School (12-1). Nearly a thousand Breaker fans made the trek to the contest, with a good number of former players in attendance, from Brian Bagley (’68) to Drake Martinez (’12).

Laguna took the opening kickoff and made it as far as the Brahmas’ eight year-line before the very tough defense forced Laguna to settle for a field goal. The two teams traded possessions twice as the contest settled into a defensive battle as the first quarter ended. Diamond Bar found their rhythm in the first quarter’s final minute, starting a 9-play drive that ended on a solid 17-yard touchdown pass with just under four minutes gone in the second quarter. Both teams then traded possessions, but Laguna caught a break when a bad snap and hurried punt gave the Breakers the ball on the Diamond Bar 32-yard line. 

Jackson Kollock engineered a six-play drive giving the Breakers a 10-7 lead when he connected with a wide-open Aidan Mulkay for the score, surprising the host school. It then looked like Diamond Bar would answer the score but time ran out for the half.

Momentum seemed all Diamond Bar as the second half got underway, but that quickly changed on the fifth play of the half when Marcus Heins snagged an interception deep in Diamond Bar territory. Three plays later, Nick Rogers ran the 26-yards off a short pass to extend the Breaker lead and initiated the Diamond Bar collapse.

The Breaker Defense was a team effort in the CIF Title win. #9 James Golden pursues Diamond Bar’s #11 “Zay” Youny, with #22 Jeremy Kanter not far behind. Photo courtesy of Lisa Fields

The ensuing kickoff was fumbled on a hit by Nick Rogers. Myles Freeman recovered the ball, but Laguna could not make any progress off the tough defense. After the punt to Diamond Bar, they, too, could make little progress and had to punt. The host’s defense allowed a slew of Breakers to rush the punter, with Chase Tyson getting a piece of the ball, causing the deflected punt to roll towards the sideling and to a waiting Micah Chavez, who scooped the ball up and ran to the endzone for another Laguna score.

Things only got worse for Diamond Bar as their next series ended on the second play as Jeremy Kanter intercepted and returned the ball 18 yards. A facemask penalty on the hosts gave Laguna the ball on the 11-yard line. Nick Rogers took over from there, and it was 30-7 with three minutes left in the third quarter.

Laguna settled into a more celebratory mood after this and allowed Diamond Bar to score quickly, but the 51-yard Ryner Swanson touchdown to open the final period provided enough points for Laguna to secure the win.

The Third quarter defense led by Chavez and assisted by, among others, Brock Donaldson, James Golden, Jeremy Kanter, Redmond Chesley and Ryner Swanson gained confidence as the game progressed and were making big defensive stops to help run down the clock.

Once Laguna recovered the final on-side kick attempt, the fans finally relaxed long after the team had already sensed the historic victory.

The Breakers will go on to host the State Division 4A Playoffs this Saturday at Guyer Field. Their opponent is Granada Hills (11-2) Highlanders, who are the LACIF D-1 Champions.

If the Breakers win – the State 4A finals will be Dec. 10 – site to be determined. The Northern California playoff is between Menlo School 

a 600-student private school in Atherton and San Marin – a public school about the same size as Laguna in Novato (Marin County).

Tickets must be purchased online only through CIF’s ticketing partner, GoFan at http://gofan.co. No tickets will be sold on-site, Tickets are $12, Seniors 65+, HS Students, and Children are $8.

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