The most important high school football game of the Sunset League schedule was postponed by a rare lightning storm that lit up the Southern California sky, causing delays and postponements all across the Southland on Friday night.
Corona del Mar High and Los Alamitos, which are tied atop the league at 2-0, made it through 11 minutes 1 second of action before their respective athletic directors and the officials agreed that the inclement weather posed too dangerous a threat to continue the game at Cerritos College in Norwalk.
“We have protocols in place and those are designed to keep the athletes safe,” CdM athletic director Don Grable said of the decision to postpone the game. “We’re hoping to reschedule it tomorrow at a site to be determined.”
The Griffins announced that their home game with CdM has been rescheduled for Saturday at 1 p.m. at Los Alamitos High.
But Sea Kings coach Dan O’Shea said via text that the two schools have not agreed on a location, time or date to resume play. O’Shea said he’s against playing the game at a facility not suited for varsity. Los Alamitos’ field does not have lights or a press box.
“We have been waiting for over 90 minutes to our offer to play [on Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday] at 3 p.m., 5 p.m., 7 p.m.,” O’Shea said around midnight.
O’Shea added that Veteran Memorial Stadium in Long Beach, where the Griffins also play home games, and Cerritos College are available.
“[We] are happy to split the rental fee,” said O’Shea, who also suggested Davidson Field, located at Newport Harbor High and home to the Sea Kings, as another possible venue.
Wherever and whenever the game resumes, it will pick up with the Sea Kings and Griffins tied at 7-7 with 59 seconds left in the first quarter. CdM had the ball at its 45-yard line in a second-and-six situation.
CdM, which is 6-1 overall and ranked No. 2 in the CIF Southern Section Division 4 poll, got on the scoreboard first. The Sea Kings capitalized on the beginning stages of the rain, which had a hand in causing a bad snap and fumble by Los Alamitos, which is 6-1 and ranked No. 6 in Division 2.
CdM linebacker Cole Rener recovered the fumble on the Griffins’ 20-yard line. Two plays later, Ethan Garbers connected with John Humphreys for an 18-yard touchdown.
Los Alamitos cleaned up its center-to-quarterback exchange toward the end of the opening quarter. Keanu Norman tied the game on a 16-yard touchdown run at the 2:20 mark of the first.
Garbers completed seven of his first 10 passes for 91 yards. Four of those completions were to Humphreys for 77 yards.
Los Alamitos quarterback Cade McConnell was four-for-five passing for 44 yards. Norman four carries for 18 yards.
Another game involving a local team was stopped in the opening quarter.
Ocean View coach Luis Nuñez said the Seahawks led Godinez 6-0 midway through the first quarter before the Pac 4 League opener was called due to lightning. The Seahawks, who are 7-0 and ranked No. 2 in CIF Southern Section Division 11, will resume play at home against the Grizzlies (2-5) on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Los Amigos and Marina had their respective games postponed as well. The Lobos will face Loara in a Garden Grove League game on Saturday at Garden Grove High at 10 a.m., and the Vikings (2-5) will begin Big 4 League play at Segerstrom (6-1) on Saturday at 7 p.m.
— Devin Ugland
Laguna Beach vs. Western
The buildup to a game is usually referred to as the calm before the storm, but the storm arrived early and stayed long enough to be the only act on Friday night.
The Pac 4 League opener between Laguna Beach High and Western was delayed for 50 minutes, before ultimately being postponed due to lightning in the area of Handel Stadium in Anaheim.
Jeff Hare, an official scheduled for the game, consulted members of both schools before calling the game. It has been rescheduled for 2 p.m. on Saturday, as Western has its homecoming dance that night.
“The CIF mandate is that we had to wait half an hour after we saw lightning,” Hare said. “We were watching. We were monitoring with Anaheim police. They had a car over here and their computer, we were looking at it. The Anaheim police grabbed us and said, ‘There’s a big [storm]. It just turned coming this way, and they expect it to get worse before it gets better.
“Our concern is when we start seeing lightning getting into the vicinity, we want to get people evacuated and get them home to safety. We just don’t want to have a situation where we’re causing an issue there.”
Both coaches said that they had never had a game postponed due to weather before in their careers, and it was clear that each was eager to see how the game would play out once the teams were able to get back on the field.
“This is a good time [to say] that Western is the storm,” Pioneers coach Dan Davidson said. “We’re ready to go. We don’t care what gets in our way. We’re just so excited to play and have fun and keep our season alive.”
Western (6-1) is the top-ranked team in the CIF Southern Section Division 11 poll. Laguna Beach (6-1) is No. 3 in Division 12. Both teams have won five in a row coming into their first league game.
As much as he was looking forward to the league opener, Breakers coach John Shanahan agreed that postponing the game was a “no-brainer.”
“I’m a night owl, so I could stay up and play all night, but it’s just not safe, and these guys have a lot going on,” Shanahan said. “They have their homecoming tomorrow night, and we have a bunch of kids who are going to need to reschedule their work, so it’s just going to be a logistical nightmare.
“We needed to get out of here and start taking care of those things.”
— Andrew Turner
Fountain Valley vs. Huntington Beach
The Sunset League football game between host Huntington Beach High and Fountain Valley was postponed Friday due to lightning.
The Oilers (5-2, 1-1 in league) and Barons (4-3, 0-2) are scheduled to play Saturday at noon at Cap Sheue Field.
The two teams were on the field warming up when heavy rain began just after 6 p.m. Intermittent rain followed. When lightning was seen in the vicinity, both teams were removed from the field and the stadium was cleared.
After a delay, and with lightning continuing in the area, school officials determined approximately 10 minutes after the scheduled 7 p.m. kickoff time that the game would be postponed to Saturday.
— Barry Faulkner
Los Amigos against Loara at Garden Grove High, 10 a.m.
Fountain Valley at Huntington Beach, 12 p.m.
Godinez at Ocean View, 1 p.m.
Laguna Beach at Western, 2 p.m.
Marina at Segerstrom, 7 p.m.
Corona del Mar vs. Los Alamitos