Los Alamitos battles, but Narbonne rallies for win


LONG BEACH - Los Alamitos coach John Barnes believed any lingering effects from a heartbreaking, last-second loss two weeks ago evaporated last week in a lopsided defeat.

“They got it knocked out of their system,” said Barnes, referring to a loss at Orange County-ranked San Juan Hills.

The Griffins indeed looked refreshed Thursday night but couldn’t hold on against state-ranked Narbonne of Harbor City. The 12th-ranked Gauchos second twice in a span of 58 seconds of the fourth quarter and posted three consecutive touchdowns overall in the final period to rally past Los Alamitos, 35-28, at Veterans Stadium.

Los Alamitos (2-3), which lost on a late Hail Mary pass against La Habra two weeks ago and by 28 points at San Juan Hills, scored with 43 seconds left on a 3-yard touchdown pass from Jack Telenko to Holden Edmondson, but the Gauchos recovered the onside kick.

“Disappointing,” Barnes said of the loss. “(But) our defense played a lot better."

Rising junior defensive end Drew Platt recorded two sacks and a tackle for loss to anchor Los Alamitos' defense. Telenko passed for 270 yards and three TDs and also rushed for a score. He did it all with favorite target, Jacob Gasser, focusing on defense at safety.

Telenko completed 21 of 37 passes, spreading the ball to 10 difference receivers. Los Alamitos outgained the Gauchos, 390-283, but were hurt by two turnovers and a punt return.

Barnes coached his first game from the press box since his rookie season at Los Alamitos because of a bothersome sciatic nerve. He watched the Griffins take a 21-14 lead into the fourth, but then came an impressive rally by the reigning L.A. City Section Division 1 champion Gauchos (3-2), who have lost to Pac-5 Division contenders Long Beach Poly and Serra of Gardena by a combined four points.

After a punt by Telenko pinned the Gauchos at their 4 with 9:35 left in the fourth, Narbonne drove 96 yards for the tying score, a 17-yard touchdown pass by Roman Ale to Kameron Denmark with 7:20 remaining.

Less than a minute later, Ale connected with Denmark for another score. Narbonne linebacker Lawson Hall, a Nevada commit, grabbed an interception on a pass slightly behind him to set up the Gauchos at the Griffins 8. On third-and-goal, Ale tossed a 13-yard touchdown to Denmark with 6:22 left as Narbonne opened a 28-21 lead.

Speedy Arizona commit Sean Riley added a 20-yard scoring run before the Griffins’ late response.

A first-quarter, 86-yard punt return for a touchdown by the Gauchos’ Jamal Hicks also loomed large with the close score.

Los Alamitos led, 14-6, at halftime on the strength of its defense and the duo Telenko and Schuyler Whitehead. Telenko capped a 69-yard scoring drive with a 5-yard touchdown run up the middle with 2:04 left in the second quarter. The extra-point by Gasser gave Los Alamitos a 14-6 lead.

Whitehead extended the drive with a 1-yard run for a first down on a fourth-and-1 from the Narbonne 38.

Telenko capped a 51-yard drive with a 17-yard touchdown pass on a screen to Whitehead with 33 seconds left in the first quarter as the Griffins took a 7-6 lead. Again, Los Alamitos converted a fourth-down to keep the drive alive. On a fourth-and-2 at the Narbonne 43, Telenko connected with tight end James Jobling for a 24-yard gain.

Los Alamitos' defense held Narbonne to three first downs in the first half and without an offensive score. But Narbonne's defense turned two second-half interceptions into 14 points.

The first, by Daniel Brown two minutes into the third quarter, sparked Narbonne's score-tying strike. Ale launched a 58-yard TD to another speed burner, Devaughn Cooper, an Arizona commit who finished with five catches for 114 yards.

But the Griffins showed their fight, driving 92 yards to take a 21-14 lead on Telenko's 23-yard TD pass on a screen to RJ Gonzalez with 3:16 left in the third.

The final period, however, became a sprint for Narbonne. Los Alamitos opens defense of its Sunset League title Oct. 8 against Edison at Huntington Beach. The Griffins will enter with their first three-game losing streak since 2012 when they lost their final three games.

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