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Griffins Survive Big Scare : Football: No. 1-ranked Los Alamitos runs unbeaten streak to 42 when late touchdown pass beats Edison, 15-12.

October 21, 1994|CHRIS FOSTER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

COSTA MESA — Los Alamitos Coach John Barnes was working on his postgame post-mortem almost up to the moment Tony Hartley grabbed a 15-yard touchdown pass from Kevin Feterik.

"I was trying to think of ways of saying what a great run it's been," Barnes said. "I wanted to say how nice this experience has been."

Yes, the end was at hand, then it wasn't.

Hartley's touchdown with 12 seconds left gave the Griffins a 15-12 Sunset League victory Thursday at Orange Coast College, one that had seemed improbable seconds before. Their unbeaten streak, now 42 games, was intact.

There might come a day when Barnes' speech is necessary, but not today. The Griffins gave the game away, then took it back, all in a bat of an eye.

Bradley Lisotto's three-yard touchdown run gave Edison a 12-7 lead with 38 seconds left. The Chargers had scored two touchdowns in less than two minutes and it seemed the Griffins' days as king of the hill were over.

Los Alamitos, which has won three consecutive Southern Section titles, had not lost since Oct. 25, 1991. But so sure did the upset appear, that Edison fans began lining the sidelines, ready to burst onto the field. Moments later, they were back in the stands.

Ryan Wanigasekera returned a short Edison kickoff 22 yards to the Charger 48 with 30 seconds left. Feterik then hit Russ Benefield down the left sideline for a 33-yard gain with 19 seconds left.

On the next play, Hartley lined up to the right, then moved further out.

"It was single coverage on me, so I took it out as far as I could," Hartley said. "We improvised."

He then slanted to the middle, in front of defensive back Alex Alonso. The pass was perfect.

"It was ecstastical ," Hartley said.

Ecstastical?

"I don't know what the word is, but I know what it means," Hartley said.

Seconds later, Feterik hit Hartley for the two-point conversion. The normally stoic Feterik ran to Hartley, grabbed and lifted him.

"It didn't matter what the score was or how much time was left, I knew we were going to win," Feterik said. "I have that much confidence in this offense."

It seemed misplaced much of the night.

Edison (5-2, 0-2), ranked fourth in Orange County, had dominated the No. 1-ranked Griffins (7-0, 2-0).

Feterik threw for 259 yards and two touchdowns, but took a beating. He was sacked three times and had Charger players in his face throughout.

His counterpart, meanwhile, was having a field day. The type of day, in fact, that Griffin quarterbacks usually enjoy. Patrick Markovsky completed 26 of 39 passes for 305 yards, 203 of which came in the second half.

But through 3 1/2 quarters, the Griffins' defense made Feterik's 72-yard touchdown pass to Stan Guyness stand up. Edison had chances but wasted them.

The Chargers' Kevin Bever missed a 26-yard field goal attempt in the first quarter. The Chargers got to the Griffin one early in the fourth quarter, but Brodie Riederich fumbled on fourth down.

"They outplayed us," Barnes said. "They should have scored a couple times. It should have been a runaway."

The Griffins had a chance to clinch it, but Mike Phillips missed a 20-yard field goal attempt with 5:38 left.

Markovsky went to work. He completed seven passes, including an eight-yard touchdown pass to Mike Ogas with 2:27 left to play. But Markovsky's pass was batted away on the two-point conversion attempt.

Los Alamitos recovered the onside kick. But two plays later, Ryan Gragnano fumbled and Edison's Kevin Voeller recovered. Markovsky took the Chargers 48 yards in seven hurry-up plays, with Lisotto scoring with 38 seconds left.

It was their moment. Then it was gone.

Said Edison Coach Dave White: "I told the kids today that sometimes life isn't fair."

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