Los Alamitos Coach John Barnes had an uneasy feeling about the Griffins' 24-7 halftime lead Friday against Villa Park. He had every reason to be concerned, as his team gave up 20 unanswered second-half points, forcing the Griffins to come from behind to win, 30-27, in a Southern Conference quarterfinal playoff game.
The Griffins' Eric Lange kicked field goals of 20 and 28 yards in the last three minutes to erase a 27-24 deficit and allow Los Alamitos (11-1) to advance to the semifinals next week against Mission Viejo.
The Griffins also got some help along the way. After Lange tied the score, 27-27, with 2:46 left, Villa Park (8-4) got the ball at its 13-yard line. After two incomplete passes by quarterback Rob Davey, and a two-yard gain by running back John Genova, Spartan Coach Pat Mahoney sent in Mike Noble to punt. Noble took the snap at his 10, started to run but was stopped short of the first down, giving Los Alamitos the ball in excellent field position.
"I gave Mike the option to run if it was there. Obviously it wasn't," Mahoney said.
With the ball at the Spartan 17, the Griffins ran three plays, and Lange came in to kick the game-winner with 52 seconds left.