The game: The Barons improved to 2-0 in the Sunset League with a strong performance on both sides of the ball and limited mistakes. Quarterback Chad Olberding played like a league MVP candidate, rushing for 147 yards and a touchdown. Defensive tackle Keiti Iakopo and safety Kent Swift led a defense that pitched a shutout in the second half. The Barons didn't commit a turnover and recorded fewer penalties. Los Al made a goal-line stand at its 1 with 1:24 left in the fourth to prevent a potential 27-7 final.
Key to the game: A tight scored at halftime turned into a 13-point margin because the Barons won the turnover battle and remained comfortable in their schemes on offense and defense. Fountain Valley forced three turnovers in the second half, leading to a field goal by Ben Filipek. The other turnovers -- a fumble recovery by Swift and an interception in the closing seconds by Trae Davis -- halted promising Los Alamitos drives. So in the second half, Fountain Valley's bend-but-don't-break defense actually got better and their running game continued to move the chains and eat up the clock. Fountain Valley didn't appear to make a major adjustment, other than limiting touches by Olberding early.
Players of the game: The long-striding and fast Olberding paced the Barons' ground attack on 16 carries -- 10 fewer than he had against Newport. He had the game's biggest play, a 68-yard run in the first half that only the pursuit of the speedy Dylan Laurent prevented from being a score. Iakopo recorded two sacks while Swift's two turnovers -- interception and fumble recovery -- led the defense. Iakopo likely unsettled the Griffins the most with his constant penetration into the backfield. Los Al wide receiver Holden Edmondson had 11 catches for 152 yards in a bright spot for the Griffins.
Key stat: Fountain Valley not only won the turnover battle, 3-0, the Barons collected six less penalties for 56 few yards than Los Al. The Barons had six penalties for 50, including only two at the half, while the Griffins racked up 11 for 106. Los Alamitos was called twice for horse-collar tackles. The offensive penalties, along with a swarming Fountain Valley defense, kept Los Alamitos from getting on a roll.
They said it: Iakopo on Los Alamitos coach John Barnes calling the game the Super Bowl for the Griffins, "I was telling them ... take the L for the Super Bowl."
Iakopo on the changes under Fenton, "Everybody is just more disciplined. ... We're Coach Fenton's kids now."
What it means: The Barons not only continued to build momentum, they took a major step toward a playoff berth. They take on Marina next week and could be 3-0 and riding a six-game winning streak going into the Battle for the Bell game against Edison on Oct. 30. The Bell game could be for the league title but don't forget about Huntington Beach if the Oilers beat Newport on Friday. As for Los Al, the Griffins have lost five consecutive games. They could need to win their final three games against Newport, Huntington and Marina to have a chance to make the playoffs. Last season, the West Valley Division's two at-large berths went to the South Coast League and that could happen again. Barnes mentioned the Southwestern League, home to Vista Murrieta among others, also might have an at-large candidate.