John Fischbeck looks back at the time he spent during the regular season on the sidelines with a knee injury and manages a grin. But at the time, says the Foothill High School running back, "Those were the worst four weeks of my life."
The 6-foot, 190-pound senior made up for lost time Friday night. In Hanford Rants Stadium at Cerritos, Fischbeck ran for 82 yards and 1 touchdown and caught a pass for a score to lead the Knights to a 21-0 upset victory over Los Alamitos in the opening round of the Southern Section Southern Conference playoffs.
It was the only time Los Alamitos (9-1), which entered the game with a five-game winning streak, had been shutout this season. Foothill (now 7-4) lost a Century League game last week to El Modena, 10-7.
Foothill did an excellent job of containing the explosive Los Alamitos offense, which averaged 25.4 points a game during the regular season. Griffin quarterback Tom Williamson was intercepted five times (another was called back on a penalty). He completed only 9 of 25 pass attempts for 99 yards. He was sacked four times and did not complete a pass in the second half until 3:30 remained in the game.
Williamson, a senior, ended his career 63 yards short of the school's all-time single season passing record of 1,790 yards set last season by J. T. Snow.
Utilizing a ball-control offense that sent Fischbeck and sophomore running back John Mountain up the middle of the Griffin defensive line, Foothill protected its 14-0 halftime lead by allowing Los Alamitos only 10 offensive plays in the final two quarters.
Randy Laycock, a defensive lineman, helped the Knights to a 7-0 lead with less than four minutes gone in the first quarter when he blocked a punt attempt by Eric Lange at the Griffin seven-yard line and teammate Steve Slocum recovered the loose ball in the end zone.
An interception by Adam Hairston at the Foothill 2 yard line with nine minutes remaining in the first half eventually led to Fischbeck's first score of the game. Hairston returned the ball 39 yards. Eight plays later Fischbeck went in motion to the left at the Griffin seven-yard line and Los Alamitos forgot to cover him. By the time defensive back Ryan Blossey recovered Foothill quarterback Chris Fergus had hit Fischbeck with a touchdown pass.
Mountain gained 30-yards in Foothill's final scoring drive, which began at the Los Alamitos 49 with 9:44 left. But it was Fischbeck who found the end zone, driving three yards for a score with 3:50 left in the game.
"Our (offensive and defensive) lines did a great job tonight," said Fischbeck.
Los Alamitos Coach John Barnes had other words for it.
"It was just an old fashioned butt kicking," he said of Foothill's domination. "Their lines were better than ours."