At this stage of the season, what's important to Corey Brown is that his Laguna Beach High team is playing good, sound football.
The Breakers are at that transition part of their campaign, playing their final nonleague game before turning their sights to their Orange Coast League schedule. Friday at Guyer Field, they reach the halfway point of their season when they play host to Northwood.
Kickoff is 7 p.m.
For Laguna, the game presents an opportunity to bounce back from a loss. Last week, the Breakers went to San Juan Capistrano and were handed a 35-12 defeat by St. Margaret's, the top-ranked team in the CIF Southern Section East Valley Division. That loss dropped the Breakers three spots, to No. 7, in this week's Southern Division poll.
Laguna will attempt to rebound against a Northwood team that is 0-4 but, as Brown said, is a team that has played well despite being winless.
"They are a good team and their 0-4 record doesn't do them justice," he said. "They have some good athletes and I think their best is their quarterback [Brian Abel]. That guy can run and pass really well, and we faced a quarterback like that last week. He's got a really good receiver [Addison Damasco], who is his favorite target."
Northwood had lost each of its first three games by eight or less points, two of those games by three points, until last week's 40-14 setback at Claremont. Senior halfback Addison Damasco scored on a 45-yard run and sophomore tailback Spencer Tran had a 13-yard touchdown run for the Timberwolves.
Laguna last week ran into a talented quarterback in St. Margaret's Joshua Davis, who directed the Tartans (4-0) in their 35-12 victory. Davis ran for two scores and threw for another for the Tartans who led, 21-0, at the half.
The first-half shutout marked the first time in 51 games that a Laguna team had been held scoreless in an opening half since a 2088 CIF first-round playoff game against Corona del Mar.
"[Davis] was as good as advertised, and St. Margaret's executed and carried out their game plan," Brown said. "Not to take anything, at all, away from them, but things went St. Margaret's way. [Davis] is a fantastic player, and only had two incomplete passes in the first half. And, they had a punt that rolled dead at about our one-inch line.
"It was a night where things went right for them. They are a very good football team."
A 47-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter by senior running back Nathan Lancaster brought Laguna to within 21-6. Down 28-6 in the fourth quarter, Lancaster and sophomore quarterback Jack Simon connected on a 68-yard touchdown pass for the Breakers' final score.
Lancaster rushed for 91 yards which put him at 2,084 rushing yards for his career, the fifth-best total in school history. With his two touchdowns, he is now fourth in career scoring with 221 points. He is third in career rushing touchdowns at 27.
Simon was 11 of 23 for 182 yards, which is the third-best game for passing yards by a sophomore.
"I think the one thing we took away from the St. Margaret's game, is that we need to be a little more tough," Brown said. "We got down early but came back in the second half and played extremely hard. I think we've put it behind us, and we've had a good week of practice this week."
And Brown's overall impression of his team's performances in its first four games of the season?
"We're 3-1 and I'm pleased with that," he said. "Our goal is that we want to be playing good football heading into league. We have one more game to get ready for league, and it's important that we play well and get some momentum going on Friday."
Defending champion Laguna starts its Orange Coast League season Oct. 11 against Saddleback at Segerstrom High.
Breakers Schedule (3-1)