By Jim Tortolano
Relying heavily on the running attack which has made Garden Grove High football teams a powerhouse for more than a decade, the Argonauts rolled past their oldest rival Thursday night and clinched no worse than a tie for their sixth straight Garden Grove League title.
After a 41-17 win over Rancho Alamitos at Bolsa Grande Stadium, only Bolsa Grande (0-7 overall and 0-3 in league) stands between Grove (5-3 overall and 4-0 in league) and another outright championship.
“We’ve got to win next week,” said Argo coach Ricardo Cepeda. “We won a share tonight but we’ve got to take care of business. We’ve got to play a little better.
“Our first goal is to win the league, our second goal is to make a run into CIF. We’ve got to get a lot better,” said Cepeda. “Rancho played tough, but we made a lot of mistakes. We had a lot of penalties; we probably had 200 yards in penalties, and that’s not going to get it done.”
The host Vaqueros (5-4, 2-2) took an early lead when they drove 47 yards in nine plays – assisted by two Argo penalties – and got a 33-yard field goal by Isreal Martinez for a 3-0 lead at 6:29 of the first quarter.
But Grove took back the lead on the last play of the first quarter on a 22-yard touchdown pass from Jacob Zazueta to Derick Espitu for 7-3 edge.
The Argonauts would never trail again. Dominick Sanchez scored on a 13-yard run at 8:06 of the second quarter for a 14-3 lead, and Mike Carillo added a 3-yard TD run at 3:24 to put the red-and-white up 21-3.
Rancho countered with an eight-play, 65-yard drive – again, fueled in part by penalties – that resulted in a 1-yard touchdown run by Nathan Kanyavong with 23 seconds left in the half. Grove led 21-10 at intermission.
The red-and-white opened the margin once more with a 5-yard TD run by Carillo at 6:31 of the third quarter, capping a six-play, 67-yard drive. The Argos led 28-10 after three quarters.
Grove struck again at 6:52 of the fourth quarter when Zazueta found Brandon Coleman in the corner of the end zone for a 15-yard scoring strike and a 34-10 edge.
The teams exchanged touchdowns in the final four minutes, but the outcome was not in doubt. Joseph Santana threw for a score for Rancho and Grove countered with a 21-yard scoring run by Johnathan Gallegos.
Grove’s sixth title will close out 51 years in the GGL, as the Argonauts will be moved into the Golden West League for the 2018 season.
“It’s probably a good move,” conceded Cepeda. “It’s a little tougher. We’ve been dominating the league. I’m an old school Garden Grove guy. I’m a little disappointed; I like the rivalries, playing Rancho and other teams in the league.
“We’re still going to play Rancho in the pre-season and maybe some others. But I’m excited about new league and seeing what we can do. We won the league the last six years in a row and maybe it’s time for something new.”
Other Thursday night football results:
Garden Grove League
- Santiago 41, Los Amigos 27: The Cavaliers improved to 2-2 in league play and 4-4 overall. The Lobos went to 1-3 and 2-7.
Golden West League
- Westminster 21 Segerstrom 7: Noah Melbon passed for 140 yards and Christian Jaime rushed for 67 in the win. The Lions are now 7-2 overall and 3-1 in the GWL.
- Los Alamitos 38, Huntington Beach 0: The Oilers fell to 3-6 overall, 2-2 in league.
Categories: High school sports