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PREP FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS : Southern Conference : They'll Go at Each Other's Strengths : El Toro Wins With Its Offense; Los Alamitos Relies on Defense

December 09, 1987|ELLIOTT TEAFORD | Times Staff Writer

The unstoppable offense will meet the immovable defense in the Southern Conference championship high school football game at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Orange Coast College.

El Toro High, one of the conference's best offensive teams, will play Los Alamitos, one of the top defensive teams.

Offense has been a Charger trademark for three seasons. Bret Johnson, El Toro quarterback,has thrown for 1,892 yards and 21 touchdowns and given up only 6 interceptions.

El Toro (11-2) is playing in its second straight conference championship game. The Chargers beat Santa Ana last season for the title.

Los Alamitos has shut out seven opponents, including five in a row at one point. The Griffins feature a tough-tackling, hard-nosed group led by middle linebacker Roger Roadstrom, the Empire League's defensive player of the year.

Los Alamitos (12-2) is playing in its first Southern Conference title game since 1977.

Each team relied on a little luck to advance to the championship game.

El Toro defeated Santa Ana on a 51-yard touchdown pass play with no time left, 13-12.

Johnson put the ball up for grabs at the five-yard line. Santa Ana safety Bobby Joyce reached up to intercept the pass but bobbled the ball. As he did, Charger wide receiver Adam Brass snatched the ball and ran into the end zone.

The Griffins defeated Mission Viejo in their semifinal game, 7-6 in overtime.

Tim Wynn, Los Alamitos defensive end, blocked a 22-yard field goal with 1:55 left in regulation to send the scoreless game into overtime.

Running back Marcus Garcia scored for the Griffins in the California tiebreaker. Eric Lange kicked the extra point and Los Alamitos led, 7-0.

Mission Viejo scored on its series but missed the extra point.

"You make your own luck," Los Alamitos Coach John Barnes said. "We've gotten a few extra breaks, but deserve to be here.

"At the start of the year if you'd asked me if we'd be in the championship game, I would have said you're crazy. We woke up Saturday morning and here we are."

In addition to Garcia, the Griffins feature sophomore quarterback Todd Gragnano and wide receiver Jon Cisneros on offense.

"We've seen a lot of good defenses this year," El Toro Coach Bob Johnson said. "They're just another obstacle in our way. We've been real successful scoring."

El Toro suffered its only two losses this season when Bret Johnson was sidelined for four games with a knee injury.

With Johnson at quarterback, the Chargers have won 23 straight games since his sophomore season.

The Chargers have suffered other injuries, too. Leading receiver Chris McCarthy missed three games with a back injury.

Johnson and McCarthy are at full strength now.

"They've overcome some obstacles and played extremely well all year," Bob Johnson said.

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