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JEFF GRITCHEN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Los Alamitos first-year coach Ray Fenton instructs Mike Magana during Monday's opening practice.

OCVarsity Kickoff '16: Los Alamitos preview

STAFF WRITER

OCVarsity’s season preview for 2016:

LOS ALAMITOS GRIFFINS

Coach: Ray Fenton

Last season: 5-6 overall, 3-2 league

Scouting report: For the first time since 1978, a coach other than John Barnes leads the Griffins. Ray Fenton arrives from Fountain Valley, where he led the Barons past Los Alamitos in two of his three seasons. Fenton hired former Garden Grove coach Willy Puga to coordinate the offense, which will be multiple. Michael Cobleigh, Fenton’s longtime assistant and the former Cypress coach, will coordinate the defense. The Griffins turn to Hayden Smith at quarterback. He played wide receiver last season. Tight end Drew Platt, athlete Dylan Laurent and running back RJ Gonzalez should be top contributors. Also look out for sophomore running back Keanu Norman, a standout from the freshman team. On defense, Platt and emerging junior Issaiah Johnson move to inside linebacker. Defensive tackle Matthew Faupusa, a transfer from St. John Bosco, will observe the 30-day sitout period but could be an anchor in league. Joey Noble is one of the county’s standout ends. While the front seven has the potential to be strong, the question for the defense could be the secondary.

Bottom line: The Griffins return enough talent to challenge Edison for the league crown. But they need to adjust to new schemes and a more challenging schedule, including nonleague dates with Long Beach Poly, La Habra and JSerra. If they emerge improved after their first five games, watch out in league.

Players to watch: Dylan Laurent, WR/DB, Sr.; Hayden Smith, QB, Sr.; Drew Platt, TE/LB, Sr.; RJ Gonzalez, RB, Sr.; Joey Noble, DE, Sr.; Issaiah Johnson, LB, Jr.; Matthew Faupusa, DT, Jr.; Andre Leomiti, OL, Sr.

LOS ALAMITOS SCHEDULE

LOS ALAMITOS ROSTER

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Contact the writer: dalbano@scng.com


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