Los Alamitos 69 - Eagles 49

LOS ALAMITOS, CA., September 15, 2022 – Last season, SMCHS trailed Los Alamitos by 14 points heading to intermission, only to mount a furious and unchallenged comeback to secure a 42-21 victory. This time, the Eagles led after one quarter and trailed only 35-30 at halftime, but that same spark did not emerge in this one, although the Eagles did score points. However, they allowed more in the 69-49 disappointment. While the SMCHS offense put points on the board, the Griffins were also enjoying offensive success. Eagle quarterback Jaxon Potter had a career game with 482 yards passing and 57 more yards rushing -- a new school mark for total offense (539). He threw five touchdowns and notched one more on the ground. Three of those tosses went to Emmett Mosley -- tying the school record for a single game. Mosley (146), Bain Eiseman (119) and Niko Lopez (104) all broke the century mark in yardage. Trent Mosley also scored a touchdown making he and brother Emmett the first pair to do so in the same game for SMCHS since Brad and Brian Finneran in 1992.

Linebacker Jacob Bower was the one Eagles that Los Al couldn’t stop. The senior logged a new career-high 17 tackles and registered one sack to once again say “hello” to Griffin’s quarterback Malachi Nelson. That sack brought back memories of that 2021 game in which he collected nine tackles (1 for loss), notched two interceptions from Nelson and returned a fumble by Nelson for a touchdown. Bower had collected 16 tackles in each of his first two contests. Donovan Comestro contributed 13 tackles. It was also announced that star defensive end Collins Acheampong would be lost for the remainder of the season with a knee injury requiring surgery.

Los Alamitos 10 25 21 13 69
Santa Margarita 16 14 13 6 49

SM – Eiseman 70 pass from Potter (Wilson pass failed)
LA – Henderson 3 run (McLachlan kick)
SM – Schuster FG 34
LA – McLachlan FG 29
SM – E. Mosley 26 pass from Potter (Schuster kick)
LA – Faupusa 1 run (McLachlan kick)
SM – E. Mosley 63 pass from Potter (Schuster kick)
LA – Lemon 95 return (kick failed)
LA – Lemon 65 pass from Nelson (kick failed)
LA – Henderson 7 run (pass failed)
SM – Potter 19 run (Schuster kick)
LA – Henderson 1 run (Gamarnik kick)
SM – Foye 3 run (Schuster kick blocked)
LA – Faupusa 3 run (Faupusa run)
SM – E. Mosley 10 pass from Potter (Schuster kick)
LA – Henderson 55 run (kick blocked)
LA – Henderson 18 run (Gamarnik kick)
LA – Brennan 4 run (kick failed)
SM – Eiseman 10 pass from Potter (Potter pass failed)

Rushing: SM - Foye 8-50, Potter 6-57
Passing: SM - Potter 34-51-0-482
Receiving: SM - E. Mosley 9-46, Lopez 9-104, Eiseman 5-119


Summary by Chuck Nan
Statistics by Shane Mielke


Los Alamitos football attacks from the air and ground to beat Santa Margarita in high-scoring showdown

Senior Damian Henderson rushes for 303 yards and scores five TDs in the Griffins’ 69-49 victory

LONG BEACH – Los Alamitos and Santa Margarita offered a dazzling display of speed Thursday.

There were long touchdown passes and several exciting kickoff returns, including one for a touchdown.

And that was just in the first half.

The No. 4-ranked Griffins added plenty of muscle to their attack in the second half and followed Damian Henderson to a 69-49 victory against the No. 3 Eagles at Veterans Stadium.

Henderson, a senior running back committed to Colorado State, rushed for a career-high 305 yards on 38 carries and scored five touchdowns as the Griffins (3-2) avenged a loss to the Eagles (4-1) last season.

Henderson’s power running balanced with the speed of teammate Makai Lemon and the passing of Malachi Nelson, the Griffins’ USC-committed duo.

“Everybody worries about (our) pass,” Henderson said. “Now, everybody has to wake up (about the run). It’s a good balance.”

Henderson rushed behind an offensive line featuring freshman Zion Scrivens, sophomores Kapono Mao and Maki Stewart and seniors Alfonzo Leomiti and Rudy Montalvan.

“The blocking was crazy,” Henderson said. “They couldn’t stop (our run game).”

Henderson helped put the Eagles away by breaking a 55-yard TD on the first play of the fourth quarter as the Griffins opened a 56-43 lead.

He later added an 18-yard TD to go along with scores of 3, 7 and 1 yards.

Los Alamitos freshman defensive lineman Manoah Faupusa even rushed for two scores while defensive end Sinn Brennan added one. The 6-foot-2, 300-pound Faupusa also ran in a 2-point conversion.

“I wouldn’t want to tackle him,” Henderson said.

The Griffins finished with 386 yards and eight TDs on the ground.

There were seven lead changes in the first two quarters. Los Alamitos led 35-30 at halftime in a game that produced several impressive offensive numbers.

Lemon finished with 11 catches for 184 yards, including a 66-yard touchdown off a short slant in which he raced past the secondary. The senior also returned a kickoff 96 yards for a score.

Nelson, running an uptempo offense for the first time this season, passed for 203 yards in becoming the school’s all-time passing leader.

“We caught them off guard with that,” Lemon said of the tempo. “We were just running with that and just executed.”

Santa Margarita quarterback Jaxon Potter passed for 480 yards and five touchdowns. The Alabama-Birmingham commit tossed three scores to Emmett Mosley. The junior finished with nine catches for 144 yards, including a 63-yard touchdown in which he raced down the sideline after breaking a tackle on a short out.

Santa Margarita wide receiver Niko Lopez also had nine receptions for 102 yards. Teammate Bain Eiseman caught a 70-yard TD on the first play from scrimmage and finished with five catches for 119 yards.

Los Alamitos was again without junior defensive lineman T.A. Cunningham, a transfer from Georgia who has not been cleared to play by the CIF Southern Section. Thursday afternoon a judge denied Cunningham’s request to be cleared to play immediately, as the court allowed the CIF-SS until Sept. 27 to issue a final ruling on Cunningham’s status.

Los Alamitos defeated Servite last week and heads into its bye week feeling united, which wasn’t the case a few weeks ago in a loss against Basha of Arizona.

“We have a lot of really good individuals but we didn’t have a very good football team,” Los Alamitos coach Ray Fenton said of his team’s progress. “Now, we have a really good football team.”

Santa Margarita played without Michigan-committed defensive end Collins Acheampong, who was on the sideline on crutches.

The Eagles also take a bye next week before opening the Trinity League against Orange Lutheran.

By Dan Albano
Friday, September 16, 2022
The Orange County Register