By Christopher Abdelmalek
After what felt like a short off-season, the Garden Grove Argonauts returned to action Thursday night at Michael A. Monsoor Stadium to host the visiting Artesia Pioneers in the first game of the season. This non-league matchup was no contest for the Argos as they blew out the Pioneers 48-0, led by running back Malachi Bey, who rushed for over 160 yards and scored three touchdowns in the game.
The big story coming out of this game was defense. The Argos held the visitors to less than 50 yards in the first half. The Pioneers offensive line was no match for the strength of the Argo run stoppers. All night, the defense was in the backfield, sacking the quarterback or holding the runner for negative yards.
Coach Ricardo Cepeda spoke about his team’s resilience on defense, “We focused on stopping Number 9 (K’lean Williams). We played with a lot of passion in the first half.” Passion was present for sure for the Argos and Williams, the quarterback for the Pioneers, felt the heat from the defense, completing only half of his attempts for less than 30 total yards.
The Argonauts offense had its way with the Pioneers defense as well. The red and white scored on each of its first four opening positions in the game and on five of their seven possessions in the first half. This attack was also well balanced. Bey, who led the team in rushing for the night, had three first half rushing touchdowns, including a 15-yard scamper up the middle at the end of the second quarter to put the home team up 35-0 at halftime.
“He’s a special dude,” Cepeda said of his running back after the game. “He has the right work ethic.” Bey is a team-oriented player and knows that his performance is dependent on his line. “Every touchdown I scored, I have to give it up to the offensive line; they handled the [defensive] line and did what they were supposed to,” he said.
Quarterback Vany Rodriguez had a good game as well, throwing for three touchdowns with two in the first half including a beautiful floater to wide receiver Dominik Brito for 55 yards and the score. Brito also had another receiving touchdown as well when he took a swing pass and cut back up the middle for the 20-yard touchdown.
Two more touchdowns in the second half put the game at 48-0, which would be the final. Garden Grove (1-0) will travel to Santa Ana (1-0) next Friday to take on the Saints. Artesia (0-1) will head home to host Santa Paula (1-1) High School next Friday as well. Both games are scheduled for 7 p.m. start times.
Week One scores
- Bolsa Grande 34, La Sierra 0: Return plays helped Matadors open the season with a win on the road. Bolsa benefitted from a 60-yard return of a fumble by Omar Perez for a TD, and two 90-plus-yard interception returns for scores, one a 96-yard romp by Jason Le.
- Garden Grove 48, Artesia 0: See above.
- Pacifica 55, Linfield Christian 0: Edward Ramos ran for scores of 55 and 68 yards as the Mariners improved to 2-0 with the win at Bolsa Grande Stadium. Darius Cowens scored on runs of 4 and 15 yards.
- Newport Harbor 44, Marina 14: A second half rally wasn’t enough as the Vikings lost to the Sailors in a non-league game. NH led 38-0 at the half. The Vikes are now 0-2.
- Villa Park 29, Orange 22: The Spartans won this intra-district rivalry game at Fred Kelly Stadium. Zachary Siskowic passed for 233 yards and two scores for the Panthers, but was intercepted twice.
- Magnolia at University
- Huntington Beach 41, Western 0: A.J. Perez ran for two scores and passed for three more as the Oilers squared their record at 1-1 with the win at Handel Stadium.
Categories: High school sports