By Jim Tortolano
For a football team used to winning by the score of A Whole Bunch to Zero, the Garden Grove High Argonauts were in strange territory when they went into the locker room at halftime locked in a scoreless tie with Katella Friday night in the Big 4 League opener for both teams.
They fell behind twice, at 7-0 and 14-7 but rallied to tie the game at 14-all and won it 20-14 in overtime on Malachi Bey’s 8-yard dash.
“We didn’t play our best game in the first half,” said Argo coach Ricardo Cepeda, “but our defense kept us in the game. I just told my kids ‘never quit’ and give me everything you’ve got.”
“It’s unfortunate that somebody had to lose. I’m really proud of our kids. They didn’t play their best game, but they never quit,” he said.
The scoreboard operator could have taken a siesta for the first half, as neither team moved the ball well. But in the third quarter, the Knights marched 80 yards in 16 plays, scoring on a 44-yard run by Gabriel Dawson at the 3:48 mark. The PAT put Katella ahead 7-0.
That’s the way it stood until the Argonauts went on a trek of their own to start the fourth quarter as Daniel Martinez capped a six-play, 42-yard drive with a 1-yard scoring run to tie the game at 7-7 with 9:49 to go.
It didn’t take long for Katella to regain the lead as Gabriel Dawson rambled for a 51-yard TD romp two plays later and the Knights had a 14-7 edge.
In reply, Grove marched to the Katella 46 on the next series, and went for it on a fourth and five, but was stopped short. But the visitors returned the favor by taking a fourth and one gamble and also failing to move the chains.
At the 3:58 mark, the Argos got the ball back and began the series with two incomplete passes. But lightning finally struck when Vany Rodriguez connected with Landon Mendoza for a 55-yard scoring strike. The conversion tied the game at 14-all.
Katella was unable to move much and was happy to let time run out in the final minute, sending the game into overtime.
The Knights then got the ball at the Argo 25, but the Argo defense sacked the quarterback to the 37. After moving the ball to the 30, they tried a 47-yard field goal which sailed wide right.
Now it was the red-and-white’s turn at the Katella 25. Two runs brought the ball to the 8-yard line and Bey put the game to rest with his scoring burst.
The win improved the Argonauts overall record to 6-2 and 1-0 in league play. Since the Knights (now 4-4 and 0-1) were the only other Big 4 team to come into the week with a winning record, was this the big game, the league title decider?
“Nah,” he replied. “You know what? This conference – the Big 4 – is four top teams.” He ticked off the recent accomplishments of the other three schools, including a CIF-SS championship in 2019 by Marina, which is Grove’s opponent next week. “Every week’s gonna be a dogfight.”
Friday Night High School Football Scores
(Results will be posted as they become available)
Big 4 League
- Garden Grove 20, Katella 14 (overtime)
- Marina 24, Segerstrom 23
- Cypress 13, Pacifica 8
Garden Grove League
- Rancho Alamitos 37, Loara 9
- Magnolia 36, Century 0
- Western 49, Santa Ana Valley 0
Pac 4 League
- Laguna Beach 54, Westminster 12
- Ocean View 26, Godinez 6
- Edison 28, Corona del Mar 20
- Newport Harbor 45, Huntington Beach 27
Categories: High school sports