Griffins at make or break point

James Stea makes an interception that he would return for a touchdown. Photo by Ted Apodaca

Aside from a 21-8 win over West Adams Prep on Sept. 22, the Los Alamitos football team has had little trouble in starting the season at 4-0.

The Griffins rolled past University of Los Angeles, 56-0, last week in a game that was over by halftime. Still, the unusual thing is not that the Griffins have come out of the gate so quickly, but rather that they have done so with one eye glancing ahead for four weeks.

That bifocal glance will come into a singular focus this week when the first of two teams the Griffins have been looking towards, comes to Veteran Stadium on Thursday. Santa Margarita handed Los Alamitos a 31-7 loss last season and the Griffins have been waiting for another shot at the Eagles.

“I can’t wait for this game because, that’s what you live for is tough games and to come out with a victory at the end and play hard,” Griffin quarterback Dylan Lagarde said.

Against University on Thursday, the Griffins jumped out to a quick lead and led the game 49-0 by halftime, as head coach John Barnes began a familiar trend of pulling starters in the second half. After the game, Barnes was asked if there was a point during the game that he began thinking ahead towards Santa Margarita.

“About two weeks ago,” Barnes replied, half jokingly.

But the Sentiment is valid. The Griffins know their season and their abilities will come into clear focus in the next two games. After getting their shot at Santa Margarita on Thursday, the Griffins will take a bye week and then travel to Edison for a showdown with the Chargers in a battle of the two favorites for the Sunset League title.

So far the Griffins’ offense has been firing on all cylinders. Senior running back Cody Paul has led the running game with nearly100 yards per game and eight touchdowns. Lagarde runs the offense as one would expect from a senior Griffin QB. He has already thrown for 661 yards and 13 touchdowns.

His favorite target has been senior Kyle Roberts, who has 290 receiving yards and seven touchdowns.

Against teams such as Santa Margarita and Edison, Roberts and the Griffins know they will need to be more patient and methodical. Quick strike opportunities might not be as available and the Griffins will need to keep

the Eagles and Chargers’ offenses off the field as much as possible.

“We have to be able to sustain drives,” Roberts said.

Santa Margarita brings a run offense that puts up more than 220 yards per game. The Griffins will need to slow down the ground game and take them out of their comfort zone.

Barnes said his team has been sharp during each game so far, especially on offense.

One concern for both teams might be the shortened playing time for their starting players. The Eagles, like the Griffins, have already had a few lopsided games so only game time will tell if they are both as sharp as they need to be.

However it is, it is likely to be a classic high school football game with two teams looking to place themselves as a contender for a CIF-SS Pac-5 title.


Los Alamitos (4-0)

Santa Margarita (4-0)

Long Beach Veteran Stadium, 7:30 p.m.

TV: Fox Sports West (live); rebroadcast on Prime Ticket, Friday at 1 a.m.

Los Alamitos: 166 passing yards per game; 174 rushing yards per game; 50

points per game.

Santa Margarita: 183 passing yards per game; 224 rush yards per game; 42

points per game.

– Team stats from