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Thrill's Gone, Thanks to Griffins

Sunset League: Los Alamitos-Edison matchup, which has been close in recent years, is a blowout as top-ranked team rolls, 52-14.

October 23, 1998|MARTIN HENDERSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Given Los Alamitos' recent history against Edison, Griffins senior wide receiver Keenan Howry didn't mind that Edison went into Thursday's game banged up and not in top form.

Neither did his coach at Los Alamitos, John Barnes.

And neither did a homecoming crowd of about 3,000 at Veterans Stadium in Long Beach.

Instead of being the last-minute thriller the teams have played three of the last four years, Los Alamitos took the suspense out of its 52-14 Sunset League victory early, scoring 31 points before halftime and building a 45-0 lead.

"I don't know if my heart could take it," Howry said, asked if he was disappointed the Chargers didn't enter the game better suited to challenge the county's top-ranked team. "I'm glad we got to open it up a little more and score."

Score they did. The offense scored 31 points, the defense 14, the special teams seven.

Barnes didn't mind the Chargers (3-4, 0-2) were underpowered, either.

"We're at a point in the season now where we're trying not to get anybody hurt," Barnes said. "Last year, we limped into the playoffs [and lost in the second round]. It hurt us badly."

Los Alamitos (7-0, 2-0) is ranked No. 2 in the Southern Section Division I rankings with three weeks remaining in the regular season.

With only four starters from last season in the lineup, and missing its top three receivers, Edison Coach Dave White appealed to his team's pride.

"We played as hard as we could," White said.

By game's end, it only got worse. Darin Pope (20 touchdowns) had a concussion, and his replacement, Nedal Abdelmuti, left the game with an ankle injury after scoring on a one-yard run with 4 minutes 17 seconds left in the game.

"That's been typical of our season," White said.

Los Alamitos' Ryan Hanson completed 18 of 24 passes for 241 yards and two touchdowns (12 yards to Howry and 19 to Blasi Ritacco). Josiah Doby (13 for 41) scored on runs of one and four yards. Jerod Ball returned an interception 61 yards, Trevor Hartley returned a fumble 17 yards, and Ryan Godfrey returned an onside kick 45 yards, all for touchdowns.

The Griffins' defense provided possession at the 50, Edison 49 and the 19 after Los Alamitos took a 7-0 lead on a 70-yard drive on the first series.

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