Breakers football rolls into CIF quarterfinals

Jack Houlahan, PR Liasion

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After back-to-back seasons winning a mere two games, the Breaker football team has found the consistent play it has been lacking in years past. At the end of the 2015 season, coach Ted Clarke resigned as head coach and athletic director. That spring, coach John Shanahan was hired to take over. Shanahan lives in Laguna and looks to build a program in his home town.

“I have spent a lot of time building great programs in the city of Tustinmany of my kids have gone on to play at a higher level. This is my first opportunity to live in a community and have a great effect on the kids I coach to build a successful football culture. I am in it for the long haul, and I hope to raise my kids in this community and have them play for the team,” said coach Shanahan.

Shanahan’s last job was the head freshmen coach at JSerra. Going into this season, there was high degree of uncertainty regarding the program. This would be the team’s third head coach in the past three years. The team faced additional challenges as they spent their spring and summer practices practicing at Thurston and on the LBHS baseball field.

Despite these factors, in their season opener at Bolsa Grande, the Breakers beat the Matadors 47-18. In their home opener the following week, the LBHS beat La Quinta 52-14. Combined in the first two games, the Breakers outscored their opponents 99-32.

In the three remaining non-league games, the Breakers played teams who were very talented and from higher divisions. They lost three straight to Segerstrom, Orange and Saint Margaret’s. These games prepared the Breakers for league and their 32-7 loss to Godinez High School in the league opener at home.

“We had lost 4 straight and did not know how we were going to finish our league games. We knew we would have to win the last four to have a chance to make the playoffs,” said junior quarterback Curtis Harrison.

The following week, they faced the Costa Mesa Mustangs for their first game on their brand new field. The Breakers beat the Mustangs 43-9 and were feeling good going into homecoming week, when the Breakers beat Saddleback in the homecoming game. A pick six by senior defensive back Zane Herr, a strong second half running game led by senior runningback Matt Hayes and a strong stand by the young offensive line sparked a 21-12 victory in the defining game of the season. The Breakers then went on to beat Estancia 42-21 the following week.

In the final game of the regular season, The Breakers played their rivals Calvary Chapel. Both teams were 3-1 in league, and the winner of this game would advance to the playoffs. The Breakers defeated The Eagles 39-14 and booked their ticket to the first playoff game in five years. This four game stretch was led by senior receiver and outside linebacker Ryan Blaser. Blaser finished the regular season with 37 receptions for 537 yards. The effort up front on both sides of the ball was led by junior defensive tackle and guard Zach Fields.

“I’m really proud of how far our team has come since last season, and we hope to keep this momentum going into the playoffs,” said junior Zach Fields.

In their most recent competition last Friday, the Breakers beat the Duarte Falcons 26-21. The team was trailing with just minutes remaining but a big kick return by junior Adam Armstrong and a 20-yard reception by Blaser set up an easy one-yard touchdown run. This score put the Breakers up with under a minute remaining.

The Breakers play at home tomorrow in the quarter finals against Boron High School.

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