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Los Alamitos Overcomes Mistakes to Beat Washington

September 20, 1996|MIKE TERRY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

LONG BEACH — Despite the quality of athletes who have played football at Los Alamitos, there remains a belief that the offensive system is as much a star as the players.

That theory was reinforced Thursday, even if the system had to work with spare parts during the fifth-ranked Griffins' 27-14 victory over Los Angeles Washington at Veterans Stadium.

Los Alamitos was primed for an upset because of injuries.

The most critical were on offense: Starting quarterback Sean Stein was felled by back spasms early in the week. "I was tempted to play him," Griffin Coach John Barnes said.

His replacement, Zack Blazek, injured his ankle during passing drills Monday, and Barnes was determined to have him sit out as well, although Blazek did enter the game later, and passed for 100 yards and a touchdown.

Third-string quarterback Ryan Hanson, a sophomore, started and passed for 81 yards.

Los Alamitos (2-0) fumbled seven times, losing five. Two of them led to Generals' touchdowns: a 65-yard fumble return by Michael Christian, and a 51-yard scoop-and-run by Johnny Marin.

"I'm sick," Barnes said afterward. "I was going to give them tomorrow off. But guess what? That many fumbles, to me, shows a lack of focus. We're going to have to play a much better game against Loara next week."

"Our game is at quarterback and when they're not in sync, then we're not in sync," he said. "But I guarantee we'll get better."

Fortunately for Los Alamitos, its defense was in sync. It sacked Washington quarterback Anthony West six times and intercepted him three times. He completed only six for 26 passes for 41 yards. The Generals had a net 21 yards rushing.

The Griffins got enough offense--touchdown runs of 56 yards by Roy Roberts, one yard by Ife Ohalate, a 36-yard touchdown reception by Blair Havens and two field goals by Mike Phillips--to win.

"I had hoped we would play them better--and I'd love to play them again," Washington Coach Dick Mull said. The Generals are 1-1.

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