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SOUTHERN SECTION FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEWS : SHAKE, RATTLE AND ROLL : Tim Wynn of Los Alamitos Striking a Winning Chord With Versatile Role on Southern Section's Top Defense

December 12, 1987|ELLIOTT TEAFORD | Times Staff Writer

Great versatility, this Tim Wynn.

Send a running back his way and he'll whomp him to the turf.

Hand him an electric guitar and he'll play a rock 'n' roll riff. Seat him at a piano and he'll tickle those ivories.

Wynn, who plays defensive end for Los Alamitos High School's football team, plays six instruments, including bass guitar, and writes songs for a rock band called Close Quarters, which performs top-40 songs as well.

He also plays the most difficult position in the Southern Section's best defense. The Griffins have seven shutouts, including five straight at one point, and have allowed only 5.9 points a game. Only two teams have scored more than one touchdown against Los Alamitos (12-1), which will play El Toro (11-2) for the Southern Conference title at 7:30 tonight at Orange Coast College.

Frank Doretti, the Griffins' defensive coordinator, has evolved a complicated, multiple-formation defense in his 21 years at the school.

"We try not to be in the same formation two downs in a row," Doretti said. "It's demanding on the kids.

"We call Tim Wynn a defensive end, but he could play linebacker. A lot of people would call him a linebacker. He has it in his power to change certain things at the line of scrimmage."

Wynn seems well-suited to the position, but that wasn't always the case.

"(When I was a sophomore) it was like Latin, it was so foreign to me," Wynn said. "Then as a junior it was more like Spanish. A little more familiar, but still pretty foreign. But pieces all fit together as a senior.

"There's a lot of 'ifs' involved. It's not like playing linebacker, where you're lining up in one place every time."

Doretti said Wynn and his cohorts, notably linebackers Sam Hardin and Roger Roadstrom, have adapted well.

"These guys know when to change defenses," Doretti said. "We don't have to tell them when to change. They've been super in that respect."

Certainly the Griffins were at their best when, during a five-week span, they shut out Gahr, 42-0; Marina, 27-0; Lakewood, 28-0; Loara, 31-0, and El Dorado, 14-0.

In 13 games this season, Los Alamitos has outscored the opposition, 338-77.

No matter where Wynn has positioned himself, he has helped the Griffins confound opponents.

He hems in runners on sweeps and helps lead the Griffins' ferocious pass rush.

And in one fell swoop last week, he swatted away Mission Viejo's best bid to beat the Griffins in the semifinals.

The Diablos tried a 22-yard field goal with 1:55 left. All they had to do was snap the ball, put it on the tee and kick it to win, 3-0.

But Wynn broke through from the outside, extended his 6-foot 3-inch frame to its fullest and blocked the kick.

Wynn's block preserved a scoreless tie and sent the game to overtime, where the Griffins pulled out a 7-6 victory.

It should have been the most pressured-filled night of Wynn's season, but it couldn't match the evening Wynn's football playing crossed paths with his musical interests.

One Friday night, the Griffins had shut out yet another opponent with a 31-0 victory over Loara. Wynn couldn't bask in the glory for long, though, because it was homecoming night.

Close Quarters had been hired to play at Los Alamitos' homecoming dance, as it had the year before. This time the dance was the same night as the football game.

"We decided to do the dance early in the year," Wynn said. "I was obligated to do both."

The Griffin coaching staff eyed Wynn a little suspiciously that week, he said.

"If I played bad, I knew they would have said I was paying too much attention to the music. It was the most trying time of my life."

Wynn, who rushed back to school from Handel Stadium after the game, quelled all doubts and turned in a solid performance that night.

Oh, and the football game turned out just fine, too. Wynn played so well he was named Griffin of the Week by the coaching staff.

Most things have worked out for Wynn and his Los Alamitos teammates this season. The Griffins are making their first championship appearance since 1977. At the beginning of the season, though, the their chances of a title shot seemed remote at best.

Los Alamitos had graduated most of its top players, including the entire starting backfield. The defense was a bunch of unheralded players.

"At the start of the season in practice, we couldn't stop the eighth-stringers," Wynn said. "We had our doubts, but the coaches inspired us. And once you get one shutout, it gets contagious.

"I don't know if it's the success itself, but it's like we've traveled this road before. Experience, for me, has been my best attribute."


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