By Adam Stites/Garden Grove Journal
The Garden Grove football team hadn’t lost five games in a season since the 2007 season. The 2011 Argonauts struggled out of the gates to defend their CIF Southern Division championship, losing five in a row starting with a 21-10 loss to Woodbridge on Sept. 16. The losing streak finally came to a finish over a month later when the Argos dominated the Santiago Cavaliers 51-0 on Friday.
I’m happy for these guys because they’ve been working hard, they’ve never doubted themselves or the coaches or me,” said Garden Grove head coach Willie Puga, “Hopefully this is the start of a whole new streak.”
The Argonauts won on the back of a dominant rushing performance despite the absence of running back Alejandro Perez due to injury. On the second play from scrimmage for GGHS in the game following a Santiago punt, Mark Umanzor ran 60 yards to put the Argos on top, 7-0.
The team never looked back, tacking on two more Umanzor touchdowns in the first half from one and eight yards out. C.J. Del Real and Chris Martinez each added short touchdown runs and a 26-yard pass from Martinez to Gabriel Carillo capped off the first half scoring from the Argos as they rolled to a 44-0 lead at halftime.
“We controlled the line of scrimmage tonight, all night. I’ve been waiting for that all year,” said Puga. “I think from this point forward they believe we can run the ball.” Puga went on to say that he believes the game could be a “rebirth” of sorts for a team that still believes they have what it takes to win.
There was a scare with three minutes to go in the first half when Santiago offensive lineman Abraham Rodriguez fell to the turf face first and required a stretcher to take him to an ambulance in which he left the field. However, both schools’ athletic directors confirmed that Rodriguez was fully coherent and had full movement in all extremities following the game.
The Argonauts finished with 281 yards rushing, with 164 of those coming from Umanzor. Said Umanzor, “We just ran off our blocks and it was as simple as that.”
Winning lifted the Argonauts to 1-1 in Garden Grove League play, 2-5 overall. Santiago fell to 0-2 and 1-6.
Garden Grove next plays the Rancho Alamitos Vaqueros who have jumped out to a 2-0 start in league play (6-1 overall) with a 33-30 loss in a nonleague match against Sonora as the sole blemish on their record.
We haven’t lost that much talent, we’re still the team that we were last year and the year before that,” said Umanzor.