By Jacob Wilson/Garden Grove Journal
It starts now.
The Garden Grove Argonauts start Garden Grove League action tonight (Thursday) against La Quinta (2-3) after posting a 3-2 non-league record. The Argonauts closed the preseason with a 49-6 loss to El Toro (6-0) Friday.
Though Rancho Alamitos appears to be the early favorite to win the league title, the Argonauts should make it a tough race. The Vaqueros are 4-1, but the Argonauts have played the tougher schedule, with three road games and a quality win against Pacifica.
The Argonauts still have some work to do, especially on offense, Garden Grove Head Coach Willy Puga said.
“It should be us and Rancho based on preseason and based on our records,” he said. “We’ll be right in there if we take care of the football.”
The Argonauts have shown a balanced offensive attack so far. Garden Grove is the league’s best passing team and is second only to Los Amigos in total offense.
Quarterback Angel Martinez entered Friday’s game averaging 150 passing yards per game, including a 261-yard effort against Katella.
Argonaut running back Sione Masoe emerged as a big threat Friday, leading all players with a season-high 152 rushing yards, mostly on direct snaps and in Wildcat formations. Masoe scored a touchdown on a 63-yard draw to end the first quarter.
Puga said the Argonauts need to limit their penalties and turnovers. The Argonauts have thrown six interceptions on the year.
“There’s a lot of stuff we need to clean up,” he said.
Puga is more content with his team’s defense, despite the lopsided score against El Toro.
Though the Argonauts gave up a combined 86 points to El Toro and Woodbridge in losses, in three wins they held opponents to an average of 11 points per game.
“Our defense is good,” Puga said. “They play hard and can hold opponents.”
The Argonauts held El Toro early in drives. The Chargers faced five third downs and two fourth downs in the first half. But they converted three of those third downs and half of their fourth downs.
The Argonauts couldn’t stop Orange County’s top passer, Conner Manning. The senior threw for 317 yards and three touchdowns. Manning has thrown for 2,572 yards in six games and has 27 touchdowns against one interception.
The Chargers added three rushing touchdowns and an interception return. Neither team scored in the second half. Because of the score, the clock did not stop in the fourth quarter.