Los Al football destroyed Huntington Oilers at Friday’s Homecoming game

Griffins celebrated a 48-7 win against the Oilers and another Sunset League title


Los Alamitos High School Newsletter

The packed crowd of Locos at Friday’s Homecoming game against Huntington.

Bella Kim, Staff Writer

LOS ALAMITOS, CA — On Friday, Oct. 21, Los Alamitos High School’s football team wiped out the Huntington Beach High School Oilers at Veterans Stadium, 48-7. With major players out injured, underclassman team members rallied, securing a Homecoming victory and Los Al’s 25th Sunset League championship.

Former head coach John Barnes, recently inducted into the California High School Football Hall of Fame, started the night with the coin toss and a pregame speech honoring the CIF Division 1 team from 2002. Friday was the 20th anniversary of their championship. Alumni from the 2002 team, now grown men, were present on the sidelines in their original letterman jackets.

Former head coach John Barnes pregame speech honoring Los Al football alumni.

“It was only fitting that this team could watch,” Assistant Coach Greg Snyder said, “as the current team, headed by a nationally ranked quarterback, Malachi Nelson, and a consistently improving defense anchored by Isaiah Dorsey, led a large group of sophomores and freshmen to victory over the Huntington Beach Oilers.”

Prominent players Makai Lemon, wide receiver, and Damian Henderson, running back, were out with injuries, but freshman and sophomore teammates stepped up to bring Los Al to triumph.

Freshman wide receiver Ja’Myron Baker and sophomore running back Anthony League were key players. They played alongside seniors Malachi Nelson, quarterback, and Gavin Porch, wide receiver. Nelson, number seven, completed 16 of 24 passes, including four touchdown passes for a total of 217 yards. Porch, number two, had four receptions, two of which were touchdowns for 40 yards.

League, number 25, recalled how it felt to play on the field with his upperclassman teammates, stepping in for injured top players like Henderson, whom League looks up to especially. 

Los Al football team running onto the field at the start of the game.

“I feel way younger than everybody and knowing how I could still perform on the field with people who are way older than me just feels great,” League said. He and Baker scored two touchdowns each. Baker, number 13, received four passes for 89 yards and, in the second quarter, made a wicked interception in the Oilers’ end-zone. Then League recovered a blocked punt in the end-zone for a defensive touchdown. 

“I knew [League] was gonna do great,” Nelson said. 

“I felt like I had a job to do, and I feel like I performed in the job by filling in,” League added. He rushed 169 yards on 12 carries, including an impressive 69 yards during the third quarter. 

The stands were packed with a sea of roaring Locos, all dressed in red. An overwhelming number of Los Al’s student body showed up, along with families and faculty. Los Al Marching Band played while Los Al Song and Cheer boosted the crowd. 

ASB members standing in front of the spectators, including Homecoming Queen Lailah Downs.

During halftime, Sound FX choir sang “Go the Distance” from Disney’s “Hercules” in tandem with the Homecoming of Heroes theme. Los Al Advanced Dance presented their superhero-themed number, and Los Al Song performed a routine. Following the halftime performances, ASB announced the Homecoming King and Queen, Tyler Small and Lailah Downs. 

As the Griffins and Oilers returned to the field for the third quarter, the crowd belted out “Sweet Caroline” with ASB, who also continued the Los Al football game tradition of the rollercoaster. 

It seemed like the three-and-half-hour game was going to be a complete shut out until the fourth quarter, when Huntington’s backup quarterback Andrew Verdone scored an eight-yard touchdown. Los Al kept up a strong offense and defense throughout the game and dominated the Oilers in a 48-7 victory, with three generations of Los Al football present to celebrate. 

“The homecoming game was a great moment for the entire Griffin community,” Synder said. “This collision of past, present, and future is a unique opportunity for us to be able to appreciate what it is that makes Los Al special: the people.”

For not only did Los Al win their Homecoming game and 25th league championship on the same night, they did so in front of the 2002 honorees on the 20-year anniversary of the alumni’s triumph. Additionally, younger teammates proved that the graduating upperclassmen will leave Los Al football in capable hands.