Los Alamitos High School overcame a sluggish start and an early 3-0 deficit to post a 17-3 Empire League victory over Cypress Saturday night in Handel Stadium.
The victory kept the Griffins unbeaten in six games and tied with Pacifica for first place in league at 3-0. Cypress fell to 0-3 and 3-3.
Los Alamitos, coming off what Coach John Barnes called two emotional victories over Loara and Esperanza, was stagnant on offense in the first quarter and was outgained by Cypress, 137 yards to 55.
Cypress seemed to run the ball at will against the Griffins' defense, gaining 128 yards on the ground in the first 12 minutes.
"That told me right off the bat that we weren't as ready as we should have been," Barnes said. "When they run the ball in your face like that, it tells me that we're flat."
As a result, the Centurions took an early 3-0 lead when Lee Milton kicked a 33-yard field goal with 2:35 remaining in the opening quarter.
"We didn't play very well," Barnes said. "Our last two games have been real tough, emotional games. I thought if we'd have come out real intense and played like we can play, it would have been a better game."
Los Alamitos turned things around in the second quarter, however, and took a 7-3 lead at halftime. The Griffins held Cypress to 16 yards while gaining 113 themselves, the majority of that yardage coming on passes from J.T. Snow to wide receiver Rob Katzaroff.
Katzaroff, who caught a 35-yard scoring pass from Snow with 3:20 remaining in the half and then added the conversion kick to give Los Alamitos a 7-3 lead, caught 10 passes for 148 yards and accounted for all 17 of the Griffins' points.
A third-quarter fumble recovery by Los Alamitos' Mike Rogers at the Cypress 31 helped Katzaroff put the Griffins ahead, 14-3, on a 14-yard pass play from Snow. Katzaroff caught the pass just a couple yards past the line of scrimmage, but he put a move on his defender and jogged untouched into the end zone with 7:39 remaining.
Katzaroff added a 35-yard field goal six minutes later to give Los Alamitos a 17-3 advantage going into the final quarter.
Cypress could do nothing on offense the last three times it had the ball, managing just two first downs.
"I thought we ran the ball well in the first half, but I was disappointed that we didn't score two or three touchdowns," said Kris Van Hook, Cypress coach. "We executed well in the first half and our kids played hard. If we could have just scored a couple of touchdowns early, it would have been a different game."
In other Empire League action:
Kennedy 31, Katella 20--Led by John Christensen's rushing and Todd Bristow's passing, the Fighting Irish (2-1, 2-4) raced out to a 24-6 halftime lead and never looked back in this win over the Knights (0-3, 1-5) in Glover Stadium.