Griffins down Westlake in CIF-SS opener

Los Al’s Cade McConnell turns the corner against Westlake’s Elijah Taylor. Photos by Dave Peeters

The Los Alamitos High football team advanced to the second round of the CIF-SS Division 2 playoffs with a 19-14 win over Westlake High on Friday, Nov. 2, at Cerritos College.

In a back-and-forth game that was highlighted by defense, the Griffins were able to gain the final advantage in the fourth quarter after capitalizing on a miscue by the Warriors. Westlake muffed a punt and the Griffins recovered deep in Warrior territory. The Griffins capitalized immediately as Jaiden Mitchell took a pitch and went nine yards for the touchdown that gave the Griffins a 19-14 lead with 9:08 left in the game.

The Griffin defense had to make a couple of stops, including forcing a turnover on downs at their own 34, with 2:07 left that allowed Los Alamitos to run out the clock. Los Alamitos had taken a 3-0 lead on a field goal by Nick Valenzuela in the first quarter. But after Westlake took a 7-3 lead, the Griffins needed a touchdown pass from Cade McConnel to Noah Kelly just before the half to take a 10-7 lead into halftime.

Westlake regained the lead 14-10 before the Griffins added another field goal to cut the lead to 14-13 to set up the final game-winning score. Los Alamitos travels to Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks on Friday at 7 p.m. Notre Dame is the No. 2 team out of the Mission League and defeated Freeway League champs, La Habra in their first-round game.