Los Alamitos football coach Ray Fenton said that his staff impresses on the players the idea that they have to hold themselves accountable. Not just on the field, but in the classroom and in life. The Griffins went into their Sunset League opener ready and accountable for their efforts and it paid off with a 42-14 win over Corona del Mar on Thursday at Westminster High.
After some early mistakes, including a couple of key penalties that kept Corona del Mar’s first scoring drive alive, the Griffins defense clamped down on the Sea Kings. The Griffins led 35-7 by the end of the third quarter as the defense thwarted Corona del Mar drives with pressure on the quarterback and running game.
The Griffins led 28-7 at halftime, but the Sea Kings opened the third quarter with a big pass play that moved the ball down to the Griffins 15 yard line. Junior safety Isaiah Dorsey saved a touchdown when he ran down the receiver who was sprinting down the sideline with an open field in front of him.
A couple of plays later, Ethan O’connor intercepted a pass in the end zone to maintain Los Al’s 21-point lead. The defensive effort of holding the Sea Kings in check emphasized the accountability Fenton said the coaches preach to the players.
“If you’re accountable for every part of your life, when you step on the field, you’re still accountable,” Fenton said.
The Griffins led 14-0 early in the second quarter with the Sea Kings facing a third-and 12 at their own 16 yard line. Senior defensive end Adam Tomczyk found a gap in the line and bulldozed his way to the quarterback for an sack and an eight-yard loss. After a shanked punt, the Griffins took over at the CdM 14 yard line.
After a quick pass from Malachi Nelson to Makai Lemon, O’connor ran it in from one yard to extend the lead to 21-0. Los Al’s offense gave the Griffins an early lead as it scored on their first two possessions. The Griffins opened the game with possession and moved quickly into CdM territory with a pass from Nelson to Lemon that took the ball to the Sea King 41 yard line.
Nelson scrambled for a big run down to the 16 yard line and a few plays later, he hit Deandre Moore for a nine-yard touchdown at a 7-0 lead.
After forcing a Sea King punt, the Griffins were backed up to their own two yard line. But the offense was able to put together a 14-play drive that ended with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Nelson to Gavin Porch for a 14-0 lead.
A 15-yard run by Brian Jurado on the first play got the Griffins some breathing room and Nelson followed with passes of 11 and 20 yard to move the ball quickly to midfield. Late in the third, Porch broke free for a big touchdown run that put the Griffins up 35-7 with less than a minute left in the third quarter.
Coming off a tough loss to Santa Margarita two weeks ago, the Griffins had two weeks to prepare for CdM. However, as a league foe that they are familiar with, Fenton said they had been preparing for the Sea Kings for a long time. And the Griffins opened up the whole playbook for Corona del Mar.
“You don’t sell the farm to win preseason games, but you do to beat CDM,” Fenton said.
The Griffins have another big test this week as they will host Edison on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Westminster High.
Photos by Ted Apodaca