“We’re going to get better,” said Garden Grove High School football coach Willy Puga after Friday’s 28-7 win over Westminster in the 2012 season opener for both schools. “We have to, because we’re playing Woodbridge next.”
The Argonauts will indeed get a test this Friday when they travel to Irvine Stadium to take on the Warriors, who started their campaign with a 56-0 win over Lancaster on the road. Woodbridge was led by Nate DeFreitas, who ran for two scores and passed for a third on a halfback pass.
Garden Grove has its own emerging star in 5-foot 5-inch running back C.J. Del Real, who ran for three touchdowns and 166 yards against the Lions. His speed (and perhaps his size) made him a difficult target for Westminster.
“C.J. is doing what he always has,” said Puga. “He played some varsity as a sophomore and now as a senior he’s coming into his own.”
Del Real’s running threat was nicely balanced by quarterback Angel Martinez, who passed for 94 yards and ran for 59 more.
The game started slowly for both teams, as they were called for numerous motion and false start penalties. But the Argos got settled down first, putting together an 11-play, 80-yard drive which ended with Del Real’s five-yard scoring sweep at the 9:02 mark of the first quarter.
It was actually Del Real’s second trip to the end zone. An earlier 27-yard romp was negated on a holding call.
On its next possession, Grove put together another long drive, moving 86 yards on 11 plays, capped by a 38-yard TD run by Del Real at the 3:12 mark of the first period to go up 14-0.
In the second quarter, the Lions, led by quarterback Steven Anderson, drove to the Grove 18. But on a fourth and nine from there, Anderson’s pass to Myron Aiava fell incomplete and the Argos took over on downs.
The Argos countered with a drive of their own, reaching the Westminster 16, but a field goal attempt by Gabriel Carrillo went slightly wide right as the second quarter ended.
With Anderson running an effective keeper (he finished with 114 yards), the Lions moved to the Grove 23-yard-line, but a pass on fourth down was incomplete and the Argo defense again held.
The Argonauts pretty much put the game away in the third quarter as they mounted a 77-yard, 10-play drive. With 14.4 second left in the third quarter, Vincent Luna went up the middle from the five-yard-line to put Grove up 21-0. That run was set up by a winding 29-yard romp by Del Real.
Westminster didn’t give up, though. Grove’s kickoff was returned 45 yards by Anthony Gione to the Lion 48. From there, Anderson drove his team to the Argo three-yard-line, where he ran it in from there at 7:18 of the fourth quarter to make the score 21-7.
But Del Real was not done tormenting the visitors. He returned Westminster’s kickoff to the visitor’s 45-yard line, and from there the Argos moved to their final touchdown on 10-yard run by Del Real.
“We wanted to balance the passing and the running, but the running was going so well,” said Puga after the win. His defense was also effective with Josh Huff and Danny Ocampo standing out with big plays.
As for Westminster, the offense was nearly all Anderson. His favorite target was Matt Alvarez for 65 yards.
The Lions will try to square their record Friday when they host district rival Marina. The Vikings are 1-1, having lost to El Rancho but defeated Kennedy.