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Los Alamitos thrilled with how historic day ends
LOS ALAMITOS – It was a new experience for No. 12 Los Alamitos as the Griffins hosted their first on-campus varsity football game in school history.
The night almost turned rotten as the Griffins trailed by two touchdowns before some fans even got through the gate. Then came halftime and a whole new Griffins team.
In the second half, Los Alamitos outrushed Paraclete of Lancaster, 130 yards to 6, and held the Spirits without an offensive TD to surge to a 42-28 nonleague win in front of a standing-room-only on Friday night.
“We did everything we could to lose this game and somehow won it,” Coach Ray Fenton said. “It tells you something about their mindset and the tradition of Los Al.”
Fenton joins that tradition as the first coach not named John Barnes to win a game for Los Alamitos (1-1) since 1979.
“It’s never about me,” Fenton said. “It’s all about these guys. I’m so happy they got that win in front of this great crowd.”
In the opening 48 seconds, Paraclete (1-1) scored on a 59-yard TD pass, recovered Los Al’s kickoff-return fumble and ran for a 19-yard TD for a 14-0 lead.
The Griffins were stunned until the second quarter when Keanu Norman ran 6 yards for a score. Hayden Smith responded to another Paraclete score with a 48-yard TD pass to Dylan Laurent for a 21-14 halftime deficit.
The second half was all about the run as the Griffins rushed the ball 30 times versus just two passes.
After 11 straight rushes to start the half, Smith’s first pass was intercepted for a 96-yard score.
Los Alamitos went back to the ground to tie the score with TD runs by Norman and Laurent.
Smith’s second pass of the half went for a 47-yard TD catch by Zach Ruiz and the lead, 35-28.
As the run game wore down the two-way players of Paraclete, the Griffins defensive line won battles up front while linebackers Nathan Hartman and Nathan Agamaite filled holes and blitzed for sacks to stifle Paraclete’s attack.
Michael Magana pulled in an third quarter interception to set up Laurent’s game-tying TD run just one play later.
After Isaiah Johnson recovered a fumble in the fourth quarter, Norman’s third touchdown run of the game sealed the victory for Los Alamitos.