HARBOR CITY – Quarterback Clark Evans and wide receiver Paul Richardson each gave career-best performances for Los Alamitos on Friday night.
But the Griffins’ special teams deserved a save as the fourth-ranked team in Orange County defeated Los Angeles City Section power Narbonne, 41-28, in a meeting of undefeated teams.
After Evans’ tossed his career-high fifth touchdown pass to give Los Alamitos (5-0) a 35-28 lead with 3:55 left in the fourth quarter, sophomore Nick Richardson recovered the ensuing squib kick at Narbonne’s 31.
In a game that featured a combined 831 yards of offense, the recovery proved crucial. Behind some short, hard-nosed runs by Evans, the Griffins chewed up the next 3:28 before Evans slid feet-first for a 4-yard touchdown run with 27 seconds left.
The extra point failed.
“It was a huge play,” Paul Richardson said of the recovery. “Nick Richardson wanted the ball more than they wanted it.”
Paul Richardson showed he wanted the ball. All four of his receptions were for touchdowns, his single-game high. The junior finished with four catches for 118 yards.
The Colorado-bound Evans passed for 228 yards and five touchdowns. He also had 18 carries for 81 yards, including the late touchdown.
Evans combined with running back Cody Perez (91 yards) and Nathan Castaneda (62 yards) to give the Griffins 234 yards on the ground.
Narbonne (4-1) is ranked No. 1 in the L.A. City Section and featured USC-commit Bryon Moore at wide receiver and safety. The Gauchos also had more size than the Griffins.
“It seems like we made more clutch plays to win,” Los Alamitos coach John Barnes said.
One of the biggest came on Evans’ fifth touchdown pass, which went to Darryl Jenkins. On a third-and-16, Los Alamitos protected Evans, who spotted Jenkins behind a linebacker in the middle of the field. Evans’ throw to the 20 narrowly beat the defender. Jenkins spun after the catch and raced in the end zone.
Los Alamitos led, 21-14, at halftime on three touchdown passes from Evans to Richardson.
The Griffins opened a 21-6 lead on the duo’s third connection, a 56-yard strike with 3:38 left in the second quarter. On the play, Evans escaped a near-sack at his feet and lofted a deep pass to Richardson, who out-jumped his defender at the 15 before scoring.
“That was super-human,” Barnes said. “Play of the year.”
Still, Narbonne tied the score at 21 and 28.