Fryer on football: One more year for John Barnes?


Was Los Alamitos' 10-7 loss to La Habra in a Southwest Division first-round game Friday the final game for Griffins coach John Barnes?

His 34th season had its rewards for the 63-year-old Barnes, including becoming the first Orange County football coach to reach 300 career victories. It had its frustrating moments, too.

Barnes said this year's Griffins had more injuries than any of his other Los Al teams.

"We had 15 starters miss at least one game," he said, "and we never once had all of our projected starters on the field at the same time."

Barnes said Monday he is neither leaning toward retiring nor toward continuing coaching.

Los Alamitos has not won a playoff game since 2004, when the Griffins lost to Long Beach Poly in a Division 1 championship game, making these past eight years the longest stretch without a playoff victory in his time at Los Alamitos.


Only one league with Orange County schools in it won three playoff games last week, the Trinity League which was 3-0 in Pac-5 games.

Sunset League teams went 3-1 in the Southwest Division, as did Pacific Coast League teams in the Southern.

The Sea View League looked like one of the better Southwest Division leagues, but both of its representatives, Capistrano Valley and Laguna Hills, were defeated last week. It was the only county league without a first-round playoff victory.


Trabuco Hills played six teams that reached the playoffs, and was 2-4 against them. The Mustangs in August beat Newport Harbor, which won its Southwest Division first-round game against Troy.

Trabuco finished 1-3 in the South Coast League, and 5-5 overall, and was the best county public-school team that did not qualify for the playoffs.


The Southwest Division has perhaps the most evenly-matched second round game – Newport Harbor vs. Villa Park at El Modena High on Friday. Those are very physical football teams that can play a finesse passing game with good results, too.

Katella-Woodbridge is an interesting one in the Southern Division, as Woodbridge will be the best team that Orange League champion Katella has played since the Knights lost to Garden Grove, 15-12, on Sept. 21.

In the Pac-5 Division, Santa Margarita gets a rematch against St. Bonaventure of Ventura, which the Eagles defeated, 35-27, on Sept. 21.


The CIF-Southern Section does coin flips in advance of potential upcoming playoff matchups that would need coin flips to determine home teams (when two teams have played the same number of playoff home games, a coin clip decides the home team, otherwise the team with the fewest number of playoff home games is the home team).

Mater Dei won an important coin flip against Alemany of Mission Hills, meaning Alemany has to make the trip from the San Fernando Valley to play Mater Dei instead of the other way around.

Foothill won its coin flip with La Habra, so Foothill gets to play that game at its Tustin High home field instead of having to play at La Habra, which provides the Highlanders one of the county's better home-field advantages.

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