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Los Alamitos Has Edison's Number

November 12, 1996|MICHAEL ITAGAKI | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

There must be something about Los Alamitos that brings out the best, or maybe the worst, in Edison.

Los Alamitos rallied from a 20-point deficit to defeat the Chargers, 21-20, as quarterback Sean Stein capped the rally with a 30-yard touchdown pass to Blair Havens with 2:26 to play.

Yes, it was a heartbreaker for Edison, but it wasn't the all-timer.

Two years ago, the Griffins' Kevin Feterik tossed a 15-yard touchdown pass to Tony Hartley for a 15-12 victory over Edison to extend Los Alamitos' unbeaten streak to 42 games. That touchdown pass came with 12 seconds left.

Edison had taken a 12-7 lead 26 seconds earlier, and Los Alamitos Coach John Barnes admitted he had already formulated his post-mortem speech.

His most recent close call was a little different. For one thing, the need for a speech hit him a lot earlier: "When you're down 20-0 [at halftime]," Barnes said, "no one in their right mind thinks about [a big comeback], especially after the way we were manhandled in the first half."

Edison Coach Dave White admitted the loss two years ago "was probably worse, but I'll tell you what--this seemed pretty big, too."

Because of it, the Chargers will be looking for a wild-card playoff berth; their only other losses are to big-hitters Esperanza, Capistrano Valley and Fountain Valley.

*

Coach Doug Case has been leading the cheer "League champs! League champs!" during Rancho Alamitos' pregame warmups this season. But before the Vaqueros' big Division VIII nonleague showdown against Covina on Thursday night, Case changed the cheer.

"Siff! Siff!" Case yelled over and over.

Siff? That's the way C-I-F is pronounced.

"We've won the league," Case said of his team's Garden Grove League title. "Now, it's time to set our sights higher."

*

Steve Ward tied a national record for touchdowns in a game in Servite's 76-0 victory over winless Santa Ana on Friday. But the final score gives rise to the question about setting records while compiling scores that are obscenely one-sided. Where does a coach draw the line?

Servite Coach Larry Toner said the scoring record wasn't even the hoped-for end result; his receivers had talked all year of eclipsing the school record for yards in a game set by Rick Garrison (188), who is Servite's receivers' coach. Ward's total yardage, 205 (with 12 catches), did exactly that.

"In the second half, when we wanted to break Rick Garrison's record, it had nothing to do with touchdowns," Toner said. "We were getting 15 yards per carry on the ground. We had the last available running back [Tony Dinunzio] in the game."

Dinunzio rushed 10 times for 151 yards in the second half. According to Toner, the first team was out of the game midway through the second quarter, and Ward didn't play beyond the first four or five plays of the second half.

Santa Ana Coach Mark Miller, who coached a Rancho Alamitos team that won a game, 74-0, said coaches "are damned if they do, damned if they don't," and said Toner had definitely run up the score with his play-calling, though Miller turned down a concession by Toner (made through the game referees) to play the second half with a running clock.

"I can take it, but I don't know if my program can take it," Miller said. "I think they can, but he's made my job really tough.

"His record came at the expense, perhaps, of my program. I hope it didn't, for both our sakes. I do somewhat sympathize with his position. Every record's going to be broken. They're nice to shoot for and they do inspire kids to do things, but they're kind of a double-edged sword, too."

Also contributing to this report were Times staff writers Martin Henderson and Mike Terry.

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