The wait is over. League play starts this week for high school football teams in the Garden Grove-Huntington Beach-Westminster area with games Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Thursday has the most attractive matchups. In the Golden West League, two unbeaten teams will clash at Santa Ana Stadium as Santa Ana (5-0) hosts Orange (5-0). In the Garden Grove League, two of the top contenders for that conference’s title – Garden Grove (3-2) and Los Amigos (3-2) will meet at the Argo stadium.
There’s history behind both contests. Santa Ana and Orange are two of the oldest high schools in Orange County, and their rivalry on the gridiron goes all the way back a century, to 1916. In that inaugural game, the Panthers won 3-0.
The Grove-Los Amigos game is interesting also because the Argonauts have won the league title the last four years and six of the last seven. Over that stretch the red-and-white has won two CIF-SS titles and been to the finals five times. But LA and GG don’t have the best records in the league so far; a surprising La Quinta team is 4-1.
Here’s the schedule:
- Orange (5-0) at Santa Ana (5-0)
- Rancho Alamitos (3-1) at Bolsa Grande (1-4)
- Los Amigos (3-2) at Garden Grove (3-2)
- Edison (4-1) at Newport Harbor (2-3), at Huntington Beach High
- Valencia (0-5) at Pacifica (3-2), at Garden Grove High
- Santiago (1-4) at La Quinta (4-1), at Bolsa Grande High
- Fountain Valley (1-4) at Huntington Beach (2-3)
- Los Alamitos (3-2) at Marina (3-2), at Westminster High
- Ocean View (3-2) at Loara (1-4), at Handel Stadium.
Our High Five rankings moved a bit, even though a lot of local teams didn’t play last week. Edison remains on top in first, followed by Orange, Pacifica Marina and La Quinta. Those poised to potentially move up are Rancho Alamitos, Garden Grove, Los Amigos and Ocean View.
Back in April, the OC Tribune (while we were still in our “beta” status) took at look at the Angels’ 2016 season and predicted good, if not great things. Second place in the AL West was our surmise, but the team had to scramble at the end of the season to finish fourth in the five-team AL West.
We were pretty wrong, but that wasn’t entirely our fault. The starting lineup suffered from lots of injuries but the pitching rotation was absolutely decimated. We projected a rotation of Garrett Richards, Andrew Heaney, Matt Shoemaker, Jered Weaver and Hector Santiago. Richards, Heaney and Shoemaker were all lost to injury and Santiago was traded.
Top relievers Huston Street and Joe Smith were similarly sidelined and you needed more than a program to tell who the heck was on the field on any given day. Players came and went as the organization tried to plug the holes in the roster.
So will a healthier team (fingers crossed) mean a better than 74-88 record in 2017? As the saying goes, wait ‘til next year.