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ORANGE COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PREP EXTRA

Los Alamitos Struggles Past St. John Bosco

Top-ranked Griffins hang on for 28-21 victory over the Braves, who rush for 222 yards but fumble six times.

October 03, 1998|PAUL McLEOD | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Undefeated Los Alamitos was lucky to hold on to a 28-21 nonleague victory at Bellflower St. John Bosco Friday.

Orange County's top-ranked team took its pesky, determined hosts far too lightly after marching to a 21-point second quarter lead and the Griffins didn't look anything like the offensive giant that had averaged 49 points a game going in. The Braves picked off two Ryan Hanson passes and twice were within striking distance of a tying touchdown in the second half, only to turn the ball over.

Defensively, the Griffins seemed frustrated with St. John Bosco's option attack, which ground out 222 yards and left Griffin players gasping and with leg cramps late in the game.

"Bosco is a real physical team," said Griffin running back Josiah Doby, who rushed for 106 yards and scored three times. "I guess we underestimated their power and strength."

The 6-3, 308-pound defensive lineman Bernard Riley, one of the few Griffins who didn't get cramps, was equally as frustrated.

"We should have beat the hell out of them," Riley said. "We had a bunch of messed up assignments. But we got out of here with a win and that will get us ready for later."

St. John Bosco's undoing, as it has been all year, were fumbles--six of them.

"We feel we have the best line in the Southern Section," first-year Brave Coach Kiki Mendoza said. "We're young, but we should be able to beat a team like Los Alamitos."

The Griffins (4-0) drove 63 yards in 11 plays on the opening drive of the game, with Hanson throwing eight yards to Doby for a touchdown.

Four plays into its first possession, St. John Bosco handed Los Alamitos good field position at its own 33. Braves' Quarterback Alex Aguilar, attempting to pass, was blind-sided by linebacker Nick Fitzgerald, who was blitzing. Aguilar fumbled and Riley recovered.

Eight plays later Doby capped the 33-yard drive with a two-yard run.

The Griffins made it 21-0 early in the second quarter when Hanson threw a pass down the sideline that wide receiver Keenan Howry caught behind the Braves' secondary at the Griffin's 45 and streaked to the end zone for a 94-yard touchdown play.

But St. John Bosco wasn't deterred. Running back Joseph Lucero put the Braves on the scoreboard with a nifty 30-yard run with six minutes 48 seconds left in the second quarter, then the Braves defense forced the Griffins into a rare punt.

Aguilar, faced third and six on his own 43, and used a play-action pass to hit a wide open Marty Muth over the middle in what turned out to be a 57-yard touchdown pass.

"Maybe this was a good wake-up call," Griffin Coach John Barnes said."

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