It will most likely be a tough road to a Sunset League title, but an argument can be made that the winner of the Los Alamitos/Edison football game on Thursday will be the favorite to finish on top. The two team’s split the preseason votes in the league coaches’ poll and both have solid records coming into the league opener.
Both teams have big play offensive potential, with senior leadership at the quarterback position and plenty of skill guys for the passing game to target. Still, Griffin coach John Barnes said the key for his team will be stopping the run first and making the passing game less effective.
If the Griffins can do that, their biggest concern then becomes simply keeping the ball in front of them and not giving up the big plays. That, of course, is much easier said than done. It hinges on one basic factor.
“We have to make no mistakes and execute perfectly,” Barnes said.
That execution will rely heavily on the play of the offensive and defensive lines. For the Griffins, they have been working to solidify a whole new group of starters on both lines, which has suffered the loss of junior Erik Roudybush, who is out with an injury. Still, Barnes has liked what he has seen in the first five games. He knows they will need to continue to improve as a unit, but he has seen improvement.
“They’ve done a nice job,” Barnes said.
The Chargers have two junior running backs who have paced their ground game in Marquis Ross and Elijah Herrera, who have combined for 513 yards and eight touchdowns in five games. And Charger quarterback Chase Favreau has thrown for 866 yards and eight touchdowns.
On offense, the Griffins will need to protect quarterback Dylan Lagarde and move the ball on the ground against the Charger defense. Senior running back Cody Paul has 531 rushing yards and 9 touchdowns on the season. Lagarde has thrown for 809 yards and 15 touchdowns, with just two interceptions. Kyle Roberts, Kendall Holmes and Josh Caiquo have been the primary targets for Lagarde.
“The skill guys have to make plays,” Barnes said.
Edison was also on a bye last week, so both teams will have had two weeks to prepare for each other. It will simply come down to which team executes its plays more precisely and limits key mistakes. And although it’s only the first league game, it could be vital in having a chance at a league title.
“It’s going to have a huge impact,” Barnes said.
Sunset League Football
Los Alamitos (4-1) vs. Edison (3-2)
Huntington Beach High, 7 p.m.
Note: Los Alamitos held off the Chargers last year, 26-21, in the final game of the season to take the league title.
In 2009, the Chargers came out on top, 27-10, to take league and would go on that year to reach the CIF-SS Pac-5 title game.