By Christopher Abdelmalek
What felt like eternity was really only about a year or so, but football is back on Friday nights. The opening day of the 2020-2021 season is finally upon us, after almost a year from when schools began to shut down last year for the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Garden Grove Argonauts hosted the Costa Mesa Mustangs on Friday evening to a crowd of just under 120 people, consisting mostly of family members. The game was held at Michael A Monsoor Field under a clear sky and a stadium with fans ready to get back to some normalcy. The Argos defeated the Mustangs 16-7 behind an up-and-down game from quarterback Vany Rodriguez.
For Coach Ricardo Cepeda and the Argos, a sense of normalcy was far from it as they entered the game with only two seniors on their squad and a heavy dose of sophomores including starting running back Malachi Bey.
“It was tough to prepare for this season with limited practices and limited time on the field,” said Cepeda. “We are super young, which is good for the future.”
Well, luckily for the Argonauts, Bey and other running back Jordan Sanchez carried much of the load for the Grove in a somewhat chaotic first game of the season. Rodriguez started the game off shaky for the red and white, giving up four first half turnovers, two on the ground and two in the air, but despite all that the team still hung around with the score only 7-3 in favor of the Mustangs.
The sole Grove score in the first half came on a field goal by Sanchez.
Mustang quarterback Nicholas Burton was doing his best to keep the ‘Stangs ahead in this matchup, but the Argonaut defense kept the ball in front of them for the most part aside from one bad play after a turnover in the first half. In the second half they were able to get to Burton forcing turnovers and making him uncomfortable in the pocket.
“Our defense made some big plays,” Cepeda said after the game. “Our kids really battled.” And battled they did, after a rough first half, Rodriguez came out of the locker room locked in and ready to go. He tossed a pretty dart to his wideout Jason Bruce for a touchdown on their opening drive of the third quarter to make it a 9-7 game.
After a couple of traded possessions, Bey came in and took over a drive and rushed for over 60 yards, He punched it in from three yards out to put the Argos up 16-7.
After a few more defensive stops, the Argonauts were able to kneel on the ball and end the game to earn them the first win of this shortened season. Bey after the game was happy to get his first win on the varsity squad, “I’m just glad we came out on top,” he said.
Garden Grove (1-0) go on the road and will take on San Dimas High School next Friday at 7 pm. Costa Mesa (0-1) will head to Orange High School next Friday.
Here are area high school football results. Scores and other details will be posted as they are received.
Anaheim 21, Santiago 21 (scrimmage).
Edison 55, Trabuco Hills 7
Ocean View 32, Estancia 16
Fullerton 31, Pacifica 8
Huntington Beach 42, Marina 6
Rancho Alamitos 28, Westminster 7
Garden Grove 16, Costa Mesa 7
Orange 25, Villa Park 16
Categories: High school sports