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Fryer notes: Los Alamitos really needs a win
Los Alamitos coach John Barnes has an excellent memory for the great players who have been in the Griffins program. He can recall specifics of the more significant wins he has collected in his 37 years coaching Los Alamitos.
Barnes can’t remember, though, if the Griffins had ever done what they have done this season: lose four games in a row.
Los Alamitos won its first two games then lost its last four. The losses were to good teams and some of them were very close games.
The Griffins lost to La Habra, 37-32, on the final play of the game, a 44-yard touchdown pass for La Habra. They lost big to San Juan Hills, which is as hot as any team right now. They led state-ranked Narbonne of Harbor City in the third quarter but lost, and last week they lost another tough one, to Edison, 17-14, in a Sunset League opener.
This is not a healthy Los Alamitos team. All four starting defensive backs were out for the San Juan Hills game. Jacob Gasser, who had 13 receptions for 230 yards against San Juan Hills, broke a thumb in that game and since has been restricted to playing defensive back at which he also excels.
“We’ve kind of been getting beat up a little,” Barnes said. “Jacob’s such a big player for us, and not having him on offense has hurt us.”
Los Alamitos played one of its more challenging nonleague schedules. As for the league schedule, Los Alamitos- Edison probably was for the Sunset League championship. The Griffins on Friday play Fountain Valley, which last week beat Newport Harbor, 51-20.
It’s an important game for Los Alamitos, and is as important as a regular-season game can be for the Griffins, for the standings and for the pride.
“This next game,” Barnes said, “is our Super Bowl.”
His arm is strong, his accuracy superb, his toughness obvious.
What’s most impressive, though, about Mater Dei freshman quarterback JT Daniels is his calmness. That was the same quality that was most impressive about another freshman starting quarterback of Mater Dei’s past, Matt Barkley.
The Trinity League has three gigantic contests Friday: JSerra and Santa Margarita, which lost Trinity League games last week, play each other at Saddleback College; Orange Lutheran plays Servite at Cerritos College; and Mater Dei plays powerful St. John Bosco at Santa Ana Stadium.
La Habra plays its top challenger in the Freeway League, Buena Park, on Friday. Garden Grove plays its chief competition in the Garden Grove League, Rancho Alamitos, at Bolsa Grande High.
And if the assumption here is correct that Edison and Los Alamitos are going to finish 1-2 in the Sunset League, then Newport Harbor at Huntington Beach on Friday is a crucial game for both. Only the top three finishers in the Sunset League receive guaranteed berths in the CIF-Southern Section West Valley Division playoffs, so Newport-Huntington just might be the game that decides who gets that third and final guaranteed Sunset playoff slot. (There are two at-large berths in the West Valley Division for non-automatic qualifiers.)
In the South Coast League, it's Tesoro at Mission Viejo. This is the best Tesoro team since the 2008 team that beat Mission Viejo and advanced to the CIF-SS Pac-5 Division final. Tesoro's chances increase if quarterback Devon Modster's shoulder is healthy enough to let him play and play well.
San Juan Hills at El Toro is also a big one in the South Coast League.
Valencia coach Mike Marrujo’s reaction to getting his 300th career coaching win: “I just wanted to win the league opener.”
It’s not an act. He has smiled when his teams have won CIF championships. That, however, is because he’s happy for the kids, not for himself.
The “how in the world is Servite in your top 10?” emails that were received in previous weeks suddenly stopped coming after Servite beat JSerra.
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