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Griffins' Victory Painful

September 26, 1997|PAUL McLEOD | TIMES STAFF WRITER

LONG BEACH — Hands on hips, Los Alamitos football Coach John Barnes found it difficult to celebrate with his team near midfield Thursday night at Long Beach Veterans Stadium.

Sure, Barnes said, he was happy with the 35-10 nonleague victory against over-matched Loara, the fifth-ranked Griffins' third consecutive victory on the season.

But try as he might, Barnes found it difficult to concentrate on the positives on another injury-prone night he claims is leaving the Griffin depth chart razor thin.

The most notable loss Thursday night, one of five Griffins to fall at one time or the other, was running back Josiah Doby, most likely for the season.

Doby, an electrifying junior who was averaging 7.8 yards per carry entering the game, is believed to have broken two bones in his right wrist on his fourth carry of the game on a clean, hard-nosed tackle by Loara sophomore linebacker Joey Ellis.

The play was the second to last in an eight-play Los Alamitos scoring drive that opened the game, a 65-yard march in which Doby gained 25 yards.

"He was phenomenal," Barnes said of Doby. "He was the kid we really liked. He was a good pass blocker and a great downfield blocker and a good runner and it really hurts us."

While Los Alamitos may feel the loss of Doby down the road when it gets into the Sunset League, the Griffins didn't really need him Thursday on this early-season Homecoming night against the Saxons.

The Los Alamitos defense controlled Loara's option attack for much of the game, particularly in the first half, when it held the Saxons to 68 total yards and a 21-yard field goal by Jose Moreno that came with three minutes, 38 seconds left in the second quarter.

Los Alamitos quarterback Zach Blazek rallied the Griffins to a 21-3 halftime lead, completing seven of 10 passes for 101 yards and a score. And he finished the game even stronger with another pair of touchdown tosses and 254 yards passing.

Defensive lineman Bernard Riley, a 6-3, 308-pound junior, got into the act, too. He was one of seven ball carriers used after Doby left, and Riley scored on runs of one and two yards.

Wide receivers Blair Havens and Keenan Howry combined for 12 catches and 190 yards. Havens' 20-yard touchdown reception followed Doby's injury and put Los Alamitos on top to stay, 7-0.

Blazek said he felt he could have had a better game.

"Losing Doby, that's the way football goes, but I felt I could have stepped it up even more," he said.

Loara Coach John deFries had a difficult time agreeing with Blazek.

"His ability to throw the ball, particularly in the first half did us in," deFries said. "He hit his receivers and we did not have people on them."

Los Alamitos widened its 21-3 halftime lead in the third quarter on touchdown passes by Blazek of 13 yards to senior Steve Bagley and 12-yards to junior Ryan Godfrey.

Loara quarterback Mike Morales was the mainstay for the Saxons. Although he was sacked three times, Morales netted 53 yards on the ground and completed 10 of 17 passes for 97 yards. He led Loara (2-1) on its only scoring drive early in the fourth quarter, a five-play, 80-yard march that included a 46-yard screen pass to Johnny Patton.

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