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Los Alamitos Has Shinen Moments

Prep football: Griffins get three touchdowns from receiver as they beat Fountain Valley to climb back into the thick of the Sunset League race.


The long and winding climb back into the Sunset League race got off to a quick start for Los Alamitos.

The fourth-ranked Griffins scored on their first play from scrimmage thanks to some trickery and took advantage of six Fountain Valley turnovers--four in the second half--in a 34-14 victory Friday night before 2,500 at Orange Coast College.

Los Alamitos (7-1, 2-1), which last week lost to Edison, now is alone in third place behind Esperanza and Edison, which are both 3-0. The Griffins will get a chance to knock off Esperanza next week, but they will need another league team to beat Edison for a chance at a third consecutive league title.

"If we can win the next two games, we're right up there," said Los Alamitos receiver Steve Shinen, who had seven receptions for 183 yards and three touchdowns to go with an interception.

Shinen's first touchdown came on the Griffins' first play, when quarterback Mike Catalano lateraled to receiver Tony Holder, who found Shinen streaking alone toward the end zone for a 67-yard play.

"They got us on the first play of the game, and it's hard to play catch-up," Fountain Valley Coach Eric Johnson said.

Actually, the Barons (4-4, 1-2) responded on their next drive. Quarterback Casey Clark completed all five passes he threw on the 72-yard drive, which ended with Clark connecting with receiver Manuel Diaz for a 22-yard touchdown.

But those points were diminished by the loss of running back Mike Kotler, who came off the field during the drive with a right knee injury. Kotler, the Barons' leading rusher, did not return.

Los Alamitos went ahead, 14-7, late in the second quarter when Shinen corralled his second touchdown reception on a 20-yard pass from Catalano in the corner of the end zone.

Then came an ill-timed Fountain Valley turnover. Griffin defensive end Keith Carson intercepted a Clark pass 17 seconds before halftime and returned it three yards to the Baron 15.

Holder scored on the next play to make it 20-7 when he caught a 15-yard pass from Catalano, who completed 11 of 15 passes for 152 yards and three touchdowns.

Shinen scored his third touchdown early in the third quarter when Catalano lofted another pass high into the air and the 6-foot-2 Shinen outjumped a smaller defensive back.

"Mike was throwing good jump balls for me," Shinen said.

Catalano added the final score himself on a seven-yard bootleg late in the fourth quarter.

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