By Jacob Wilson/Garden Grove Journal
When the offenses get tough, the defense gets tougher.
Garden Grove (now 10-2) has won seven straight games by shutting down some high-powered offenses. Last week the Argonauts beat Segerstrom 49-21 in the CIF Southern Division second round.
The Jaguars averaged over 41 points. Of the 21 against the Argonauts, 14 came with the game out of reach. During the win streak, Garden Grove has allowed a total of 48 points while scoring 357.
“As a unit they’re playing well,” Garden Grove Head Coach Willy Puga said. “They’re playing team defense.”
Despite the dominant performances, Puga said the team still hasn’t played its best game.
“We’re improving, but we can play a lot better,” Puga said.
The competition is also getting better. The Argonauts will host unbeaten Laguna Beach (11-0-1) Friday night at 7 p.m. in the semifinals. The Breakers won the Orange Coast League.
Like Segerstrom, Laguna Beach is a high-scoring run-oriented offense with two 1000-yard rushers. The Breakers average 275 yards on the ground but throw for just 80. They also score almost 47 points per game, more than any Argonaut opponent so far.
“You’ve got to get the lead early because throwing’s not their strength,” Puga said. “We need to take care of the ball.”
Garden Grove did exactly that against Segerstrom. The Argonauts took a 7-0 on the game’s opening drive.
Angel Martinez threw a 35-yard pass to tight end Josh Huff to get the Argonauts in Jaguar territory. Five plays later, Maze Masoe scored on a one-yard run.
The Jaguars surprised the Argonauts late in the first. Jaguar quarterback Raymond Avalos threw a 60-yard touchdown pass to David Perkins to tie the game.
The Jaguars had no answer for Masoe though. The senior fullback capped a 10-play, 64-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown just inside the second quarter.
Later in the quarter, Masoe’s 11-yard run set up first and goal for the Argonauts. Two plays later, CJ Del Real scored on a five-yard run and the Argonuats led 21-7 at halftime.
Masoe scored his third touchdown midway through the third quarter to push the Argonaut lead to 28-7.
Segerstrom had one last chance to get back in the game before the fourth quarter. Starting from their own 10-yard line, the Jaguars quickly marched 37 yards to midfield, but two incomplete passes set up fourth and three.
Avalos found Perkins on a short slant pass that would have been good enough for a first down. But senior cornerback Simaj Bilal hit Perkins just as the ball arrived and the receiver couldn’t hold on.
Garden Grove then put the game away. On third and five from the 42-yard line, Martinez threw a short pass to Bryan Quexel who broke several tackles for a 35-yard gain to the 10-yard line. Masoe scored his fourth touchdown on the next play.
The Argonauts led 35-7 and would add two more touchdowns. One more from Del Real and one on a fumble recovery by senior defensive end Seto Cherchian.
Cherchian had sacked the Jaguar quarterback on the previous play. A bad snap set up the touchdown.
“They beat us last year, so I used all my hatred on that one play and did it for my brothers,” Cherchian said of the sack. He credited his teammates on the fumble recovery.
“I just saw the ball and reacted,” he said. “The team got good pressure on the snapper.”
Segerstrom scored twice in the fourth. Perkins scored on a 53-yard run. Ben Lopez added an eight-yard touchdown run.