Los Alamitos will need some help if they are to win the Sunset League title for the second year in a row. The Griffins are now chasing Edison after coming up short, 10-7, in the Sunset League opener for both teams on Thursday at Huntington Beach High. It was a wild game that was much more wide open than the score would indicate.
Both teams moved the ball on offense, but turnovers and missed opportunities prevented a high scoring game. The Griffin defense held the Charger offense out of the end zone, but a 100-yard interception return by Edison’s Sedric Hill gave the Chargers a 7-0 lead at halftime.
Meanwhile, the Griffins’ offense moved the ball into scoring position on its first two possessions, but ended up turning the ball over on downs. The Griffin defense forced two fumbles for turnovers on the Chargers’ first two possessions. Barnes liked his team’s effort on the night, but said he thought the referees hurt his team.
“Our effort was good enough to win. I thought officials did a horrible job tonight and you can write that,” Barnes said.
The Griffins (4-2, 0-1) had a chance to tie or win the game in the final seconds but a draw to running back Cody Paul was stopped short and the clock ran out. Edison had apparently sealed the game, as they were set to go deep into the Griffins’ territory with a punt with 0:52 left in the game.
However, senior safety Daniel Tyler found a hole in the line and burst through to block the punt and gave the Griffins the ball at the 33 yard line to set up the final attempt.
The Griffins had attempted a game-tying field goal that was wide, but got a second chance because of a roughing the kicker penalty. On first and goal, with 10 seconds left, the Griffins lined up for a play and tried to catch the Chargers off guard with the draw.
“I’ve lost a lot of tough games to John Barnes and Los Alamitos in the last couple of plays of the game, so I guess maybe it was our turn,” Edison coach Dave White said.
Barnes later said he should have probably kicked another field goal, but thought they had a chance to pop the play for the touchdown and win the game without taking a chance in overtime. Paul had paced the Griffin running game with 141 yards on the ground and the tying touchdown late in the third quarter.
After forcing an Edison punt, the Griffins marched 68 yards on 14 plays to knot the score at 7-7. A pass-interference penalty on Edison helped convert a third-and-14 play and quarterback Dylan Lagarde hit Josh Caquio with a 26-yard pass to get the Griffins to the four yard line. One play later, Paul found a hole on the right side and burst through for the touchdown.
The Chargers (4-2, 1-0) responded with two pass plays that helped move them into scoring position. The second pass play was compounded with a facemask penalty called on the Griffins that put the Chargers at the Griffin nine yard line. The defense held and the Chargers settled for what would be the game-winning field goal.
The Griffins will now try to win out in the Sunset League and build momentum for a potential playoff run. Barnes said they won’t try any big changes, but rather keep things simple and try to get back on a winning track.
“Practice hard and play hard, just what you always do, it’s high school football,” Barnes said.
The Griffins host Fountain Valley on Thursday at Veteran Stadium at 7 p.m. The Barons (3-3, 0-1) have struggled against top-level teams and are coming off a 33-7 loss to Newport Harbor in their league opener on Friday.