Robbie Katzaroff gives new meaning to the term “all-purpose player.”
He does a lot of everything for Los Alamitos High School. He punts and returns punts. He kicks field goals, kicks off and returns kickoffs. And he catches passes from his wide receiver position.
Friday night’s season-opening game against Los Amigos at Cerritos’ Gahr High School was no exception for the 5-foot 9-inch senior.
Katzaroff caught 12 passes for 138 yards, including a nifty 13-yard touchdown that proved to be the winning points in the Griffins’ 21-13 victory over Los Amigos.
Katzaroff caught quarterback J.T. Snow’s pass along the left sideline, slipped a tackle, then sprinted into the end zone to give the Griffins their first lead in the game, 14-13, with 2:06 left in the third quarter.
Los Amigos had stifled Los Alamitos’ passing attack in the first half, largely because of the Lobos’ impressive running game. Led by running backs Lito Soifua and John Kuzmic, Los Amigos held the ball for most of the half, exiting with a 13-0 lead.
The Lobos’ 15-play, 80-yard scoring drive took 6:32 to complete. Soifua ran around right end, untouched, for the score.
The Lobos took advantage of a fumbled snap from center on the Griffins’ next series, driving 35 yards for a Kevin McMaster eight-yard scoring run.
“We just came out so tight, we couldn’t play in the first half,” said John Barnes, Los Alamitos coach. “We couldn’t stop their running.”
But in the second half, it was the Lobos who had trouble on defense.
Katzaroff and Snow, who accounted for 70 yards in the first half, began to click.
Katzaroff caught passes of six, eight and four yards to help the Griffins drive 53 yards for Roger Roadstrom’s two-yard touchdown run with 5:09 left in the third quarter.
Katzaroff’s 13-yard touchdown reception followed 90 seconds later. Snow found Neil Sorensen for a six-yard insurance touchdown with 8:56 left in the game.
“I felt like we could throw the ball if we had it,” Barnes said when told his team had run 17 fewer plays (21-4) in the first quarter.