Griffins football eyes return to field

Mason Burt (35) is among the players the Griffins will be looking to help lead the defense this year. File photo by

As 2020 nears its end and schools are moving back towards in-class instruction, athletics are also navigating back towards a return to competition. The CIF-SS has held fast to the schedule it announced back in July, with most fall high school sports starting between mid-December and early January.

The Los Alamitos High football is scheduled to open its 2021 season on Jan. 8, with a game against Bakersfield High. Head coach Ray Fenton said that conditioning is scheduled to begin on Dec. 10, with padded practices starting on Dec. 14.

Teams have been working within offseason guidelines for conditioning, but COVID restrictions, as well as poor air quality from recent fires have created continuous challenges. Fenton said his players and coaches have done a good job adjusting to changes.

“I’m extremely happy with the way they have navigated these tough times,” Fenton said.

As for on the field, the Griffins football team is returning some key players, including on the defensive side, that has them optimistic for a strong season.

Senior linebackers Tyler De Leon and Mason Burt will help anchor the Griffins’ defense. De Leon recently committed to the United States Military Academy, West Point. Senior and three-year starter Darrien Wingfield returns to cornerback and will give the Griffins experience and leadership in the secondary.

Junior running back Josiah Murray is expected to lead the running game and the Griffins have emerging sophomore standout Malachi Nelson taking over at quarterback. Nelson has become highly recruited, already getting offers from multiple schools, including Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, Oregon, Texas and USC.

The Griffins are looking to rebound from a 4-7 season a year ago. Los Alamitos went 3-2 in Sunset League play to make the playoffs, but were eliminated in the first round with a 27-21 loss to Lawndale.

Griffins football eyes return to field