Los Alamitos Crunching Numbers, Opponents

Los Alamitos starters are used to being pulled out of their games early this season. The contest is usually well in hand and Coach John Barnes doesn't want to rub it in. But the difficulty with which Palmdale went down in a 48-26 victory, provided the Griffin starters with a rare opportunity to play beyond halftime. They weren't pulled until 3:14 remained.

That, in part, led to the extraordinary statistics of Mike Good and Brad Melsby. Good's six touchdown passes tied him for fourth on the Southern Section list. Melsby's four touchdown receptions tied him for third in the record book. Perhaps most impressive was that the offense revolved around the pass, rather than Enrico Bozman, the county's scoring leader (nine touchdowns) and third-leading rusher. Bozman did not score and rushed 16 times for only 123 yards.

"I think they were thinking they needed to stop Enrico, but we proved we've got a passing offense," said Good, who has thrown 13 touchdown passes with only two interceptions.

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In search of a silver lining: Newport Harbor tailback Wade Tift will miss two weeks with a dislocated shoulder suffered in the Sailors' 21-17 victory over Saddleback. Coach Jeff Brinkley feels lucky, though: the on-field physician initially thought it was cracked.

Newport Harbor will now lean on Steve Gonzales to take the place of Tift (61 for 349). Through three games, Gonzales had rushed 15 times for 38 yards. In relief of Tift on Friday, he rushed 13 times for 68 (5.2 per carry). Gonzales started last season in the backfield but has become such a dominating defensive force, Brinkley wanted to keep him fresh as a linebacker.

"(Our situation) could be much worse," Brinkley said. Without Tift, who also kicked the extra points, the Sailors (4-0, 1-0) will face University (0-4, 0-1) and Corona del Mar (2-2, 0-1).

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The big plunge: Santa Margarita's Derek Yankoff's rushing average took a dive after getting sacked 11 times for minus 80 yards in a 14-0 victory over Woodbridge. Yankoff was among the county leaders after three games, rushing 40 times for 242 yards (6.1 per carry). Now he has rushed 53 for 172 (3.2).

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