Griffins comeback puts team in CIF playoffs

By Michael “Dutch” Newton

Los Alamitos High School’s Griffins varsity football team desperately needed a win over Fountain Valley last Thursday night at Long Beach Veterans Stadium to be even considered for a CIF playoff slot.

Los Alamitos rose to the occasion in the fourth quarter with Daniel Boyer’s 31-yard field goal. That gave  Los Alamitos a two-point lead.

Moments later, an interception and run back for a touchdown by Los Alamitos’ Traveeon Bennett, assured a 31-22 victory over Fountain Valley and by a flip of the coin, a Playoff berth next Friday. Los Alamitos (Home Team) will be playing Long Beach Poly. It will be 7 p.m. on Friday at Veterans Stadium.

The action during the first half of the game promised a strong offensive show by Nick Richardson and excellent up front blocking by the Los Al offensive line.

Fountain Valley defense however stuttered the Los Al offense at midfield.

A poor punt, by Los Al, gave Fountain Valley excellent field advantage at mid-field. Fountain Valley’s first offensive hand-off, to one of the Sunset League’s leading rusher #7 Kyle Middlebrooks, proved to be effective as he went 55 yards for an opening score touchdown.

Los Alamitos, now down by seven points, turned to its offense with continuous runs by Nick Richardson.

The Fountain Valley defense also continued with great defense and forced Los Al into a fourth down situation. Los Al punted to the one person they did not want to touch the ball. A spectacular punt return by Fountain Valley Kyle Middlebrooks put Fountain Valley deep inside Los Alamitos territory.

As they have done all this season, the Los Alamitos defense, led by Aaron Davis, Robert Watson, Shaquille Richardson, and sure tackles by Michael Collins stalled the Fountain Valley offense. Fountain Valley settled for a field goal and a Fountain Valley ten-point lead by the end of the first quarter.

Second quarter action found Los Alamitos quaterback # 3 Dylan Legarde completing passes to wide receivers # 18 Josh Gasser and # 2 Shaquille Richardson. Los Alamitos came back with the passing efforts again on an 18-yard touchdown catch and run by Shaquille Richardson. With the extra-point kick by Boyer put Los Alamitos down by three points at the half. Fountqain Valley 10- Los Alamitos 7.

Pre-Game and the Half Time Report.

Requirements to be a Cheerleader or Song Girl one must be a gymnast, dancer, acrobat and completely dedicated fan and student. The pre-game presentation by the two groups of entertainers was excellent and was inspiring to watch.

The Cheerleaders and Song Girls are truly a dedicated group.

Los Alamitos’ cheerleaders of the week goes to the seniors this year. Brenda Amiel and Lizzie La Ponsey.

Song Girls of the week go to seniors, Ashley Frize and Kaitlin Flagg.  A very special note of gratitude and honor goes to their Varsity Advisor, coach, and mom Jenn Ramirez.

Los Alamitos 103 Band was back in form and was a necessary factor in keeping Los Alamitos Varsity football on track for their eventual come back.

Band performer of the week goes to Christopher Maye, a junior, whose ability to keep his position in line and play the clarinet is remarkable.

The Los Alamitos Color Guard girls are certainly the pearls that dangle throughout the band as they performed with excellent skill and poise.

The demanding strength used in control and movement of the flowing banners is remarkable; the Color Girls add a necklace of beauty to the Los Alamitos Band and music performance.

Second Half Comeback of the Year.

Kicking off in the second half Los Alamitos defense aligned itself and performed well, the defensive line did have excellent help with the Los Al linebacker’s  assisted tackles.

Fountain Valley faced with a fourth down punted and shanked the punt to the sideline, finally giving Los Alamitos offensive good field advantage.

Offensive runs by Nick Richardson, solid passes by #3 Dylan Legarde and receptions by # 18 Josh Gasser, and # 2 Shaquille Richardson, made great catches and runs. Los Al’s # 3 Dylan Legarde showed confidence and authority in many of his roll-out passes to Shaquille Richardson in this game.

Los Alamitos, on this series, was stopped by Fountain Valley defense on a fourth down, but was saved by a roughing the quarterback penalty by Fountain Valley. Thus giving the Griffins a first and goal.

On the following play, Nick Richardson bulled his way into the end zone. With Boyer’s extra point kick, Los Alamitos had a 14 to 10 lead over Fountain Valley. # 33 Michael Collins was slightly injured on one of his tackles earlier on defense, in what looked like a shoulder injury.

Collins was taped up and was back in the game five plays later. As always # 8 Aaron Davis, is a second half player who knows no rules as to being tired and is in on every tackle. Fourth Quarter action put Los Alamitos on a 65-yard drive towards the end zone.

Led by Nick Richardson going left, Nick Richardson going right, Richardson put the Griffins on the goal line.

Twin Fernandez punched in for the score. Boyer’s extra point was up and good. Los Alamitos now lead 21 to 10 over Fountain Valley. The kickoff return by Fountain valley was another spectacular run back by Fountain Valley and was only stopped by # 20 Josh Barut near the goal line.

Fountain Valley then scored on the ensuing play. Fountain Valley set-up for the two-point attempt, which would have given them the led.  With the Fountqain Valley quaterback throwing the ball for uncompleted pass, Los Alamitos still led 17 to 16.

Los Alamitos mounted an offense but this came to a halt forcing a punting situation. Dan Boyer must have had instruction, “Not to kick it to # 7 Kyle Middlebrooks”. Boyer tried to sidestep on his kick but the ball lined drive to the ever-present, # 7 Middlebrooks, who returned the ball for a 57-yard touchdown, the two-point attempt again was stopped by Los Al. Fountain Valley now led 22 to 21  over the Griffins with 4:42 seconds in the game.

At this time, is when Los Al fans should look to the sidelines, and observe Coach John Barnes and his coaching staff. No panic, no one screaming, no players looking for directions.

Each player knew what he must do. Los Alamitos on the ensuing kick-off took the ball on their own 20-yard line and marched down the field. quaterback Dylan Legarde made two great pass for receptions by Josh Gasser, and Shaquille Richardson. The Griffins now had the ball on the Fountain Valley 18 yard line. Faced with a fourth down and 1:47, left in the game, Los Alamitos lined up and with Daniel Boyer attempting the field goal. `

Boyer’s 35-yard attempt was good for three points, to give Los Al a 24 to 22 led. Los Alamitos on the ensuing kick-off carefully squib kicked the ball away from Fountain Valley great runner Kyle Middlebrooks, leaving Fountqain Valley on their own 24 yard line and with plenty of time to score.

Fountain Valley lined up and went to the pass to Middlebrooks, but it was Los Alamitos defensive back # 10 Traveeon Bennett who stepped in for the interception and run back for a touchdown. This essentially gave Los Alamitos a 31 to 22 win.

O’Malley’s On Main Street Trivia Question for a $ This NFL Hall of Famer, Bill Wash, recruited this Los Al Quarterback to go to Stanford?

Last week’s winner was Lynda Tarlton. The answer was Chris Kulwe. Email your answers, questions, comments to