Veterans Day featured one of the state's most anticipated CIF Division 1 football playoff matchups.
On Nov. 11, the Los Alamitos Griffins hosted the Long Beach Polytechnic Jackrabbits in Veterans Memorial Stadium in Long Beach, which both teams use as their home field. Max Preps had Los Alamitos (9-2) ranked #42 in the country while Long Beach Poly (10-0) was ranked #22.
Los Alamitos had a difficult schedule and their only two losses came against teams that are currently ranked in the top 25 in the nation. Long Beach Poly had not allowed a single point in five straight games, winning by a combined score of 280-0.
This highly anticipated matchup lived up to the hype and was an absolute shootout.
On the third play of the game, Long Beach Poly intercepted a pass from Malachi Nelson and returned it to the eight yard-line. Three plays later the Jackrabbits scored on a short pass to take a 7-0 lead. The Griffins responded by methodically marching down the field and scoring on a four-yard touchdown run by Damian Henderson.
Long Beach Poly took the ensuing kickoff back 75 yards for a touchdown. Once again, Los Alamitos would march down the field and score on a nine-yard touchdown pass to USC commit Makai Lemon, who was being defended by LSU commit Daylen Austin.
After going three and out, Long Beach Poly shanked their punt, giving Los Alamitos the ball at mid-field. The Los Alamitos offense wasted no time and scored just a few minutes later, taking a 21-14 lead with less than a minute to go in the first quarter.
The Los Alamitos Griffins offense would score a touchdown on the next two drives, making it five consecutive drives that ended with a touchdown, giving them a 33-28 lead at halftime.
Long Beach Poly got the ball to start the second half and failed to score. Los Alamitos marched down the field, scoring a touchdown on a 45-yard touchdown run by Damian Henderson. The subsequent drives for each team ended the same way. Long Beach Poly failed to score and Los Alamitos scored on a 44-yard touchdown run by Anthony League.
The Griffins were able to hold on for a final score of 52-42 and advance to the CIF-SS semifinal game at Mater Dei to be held November 18 at Santa Ana Bowl. Tickets can be purchased at gofan.co.
The victory over Long Beach Poly propelled the Los Alamitos Griffins up to the #24 ranked team in the nation. However, they will face the #1 team in the Mater Dei Monarchs who have not lost a game since November 30, 2019.