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ORANGE COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PREP EXTRA | SUNSET
LEAGUE

Los Alamitos Clinches Share of League Title

November 07, 1998|MARTIN HENDERSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Huntington Beach might not make the playoffs, but they'll be sentimental favorites for Los Alamitos quarterback Ryan Hanson.

Hanson had high praise for the Oilers after Los Alamitos, ranked No. 1 in Orange County and No. 2 in the Southern Section Division I poll, posted a 24-10 Sunset League victory Friday at Huntington Beach.

If the Oilers (6-3, 1-3 in league) make their first playoff appearance since 1993, it will probably be as an at-large team. Los Alamitos (9-0, 4-0) clinched a share of the league title en route to its 15th straight playoff appearance.

The Oilers managed to tie the score at 10-10 in the third quarter before Los Alamitos answered with 65- and 52-yard scoring drives, the last with 8 minutes 6 seconds left in the game.

"When you play at Los Alamitos, you're confident you can throw and run the ball at will--we weren't able to do that," said Griffins quarterback Ryan Hanson, who nevertheless completed 20 of 31 passes for 225 yards.

"If you can frustrate Los Al's offense, you're very good. They did that. They're a CIF caliber team. I'd like to see them make the playoffs."

So, too, would the Oilers' second-year coach, Tony Ciarelli, who is dealing with his have-nots falling short in a league full of haves.

"We're trying to get rid of that stigma," Ciarelli said. "Effort is what it takes, but [that alone is] not good enough. It's nice to say we played tough, but that's not what I'm here for. I want to win."

His team played that way, too. Lacking the depth of talent to emulate Los Alamitos in practice during the week, the Oilers were overwhelmed on the game's first two series.

Josiah Doby (28 carries, 128 yards) ended the first series with a one-yard run and Mike Hill ended the second with a 27-yard field goal. Huntington Beach got much better after they got a feel for the difference in quickness.

Doby also scored on runs of 10 and three yards.

Before the half ended, Shaun Donahoe kicked a 32-yard field goal to cut Huntington Beach's deficit to 10-3. The Oilers might have had more had it not been for Sagan Atuatasi's sack of Jeff Emerson on a third-and-three play at the eighth-yard line.

Huntington Beach tied the score on a 65-yard drive opening the second half as Shaun Shuck (28 carries, 134 yards) scored from the one.

That's when Los Alamitos answered decisively, going 65 yards to make it 17-10, and after Huntington Beach went three-and-out on offense, driving 52 yards.

"We didn't answer their [second] touchdown," Ciarelli said. "That killed us."

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