Calhoun Countdown: Garden Grove awake and focused


It didn’t take long for the defending CIF-SS Southern Division champions to get a wake-up call.

Garden Grove dropped its season opener to Westminster, 27-26, and faced the prospect of starting 0-2 as it prepared for Woodbridge last week.

“It was a reality check for our kids,” Garden Grove coach Ricardo Cepeda said. “We’re not going to show up and just beat people.”

Coupled with the fact that Woodbridge knocked off the Argonauts last season, it was easy for the squad to focus.

“It was bit of a revenge game,” he said. “We played well on defense and got back to flying around.”

Garden Grove won, 40-14.

One constant for the Argonauts this season has been returning running back Jordan Antunez. Antunez is third in the county with 464 yards on just 50 carries. He has scored six touchdowns.

According to Cepeda, it all starts off of the field.

“He’s the hardest working guy in the weight room and he has a selfless attitude,” he said of Antunez. “On the field, he plays hard every play, he runs through guys in practice.”

Look for the Argonauts to continue using both Danny Avila and Ruben Mendoza at quarterback, but getting Malik Bilal healthy will certainly help.

“He missed all of summer with an ankle injury, but he played well last week,” Cepeda said. “He had some big catches and he returned an interception for a touchdown. We have to get him more involved.”

The Argonauts will look to stay on the right path when they face Pacifica on Friday night. The Mariners, under new coach Vinnie Lopez, are off to a 2-0 start.

Garden Grove begins the week ranked second in the CIF-SS Southern Division.

“This is a big test for us,” Cepeda said. “We’re young, but I think we’re going to be good come league and playoff time. We have some tough games coming up, but it is going to be exciting.”

Here is the rest of the Calhoun Countdown:

The Countdown Showdown of the Week: No. 7 Los Alamitos vs. No. 8 La Habra. This has the makings of being the Game of the Year, or at least the Game of September. The Griffins are averaging 51 points a game through two games this season.

It was fun watching quarterback Jack Telenko and his weapons carve up Lakewood last week (maybe not fun for Lakewood), but the Griffins have a wealth of offensive talent that you to focus on. La Habra held Mission Viejo to 24 in last week’s loss, so you know the Highlanders will be up for this challenge.

Keep an eye on …
Jacob Colacion, La Habra – The key for the Highlanders will be on defense and you know Colacion will be ready.

Jack Telenko, Los Alamitos – He’s pulling the strings on one of the county’s more prolific offenses. Telenko has completed 67.3 percent of his passes with only one interception.

Click on the video below to view a preview of La Habra vs. Los Alamitos at the 5:20 mark.

My vote in this week’s O.C. Top 10 looked like this: 1. Mater Dei; 2. Mission Viejo; 3. Orange Lutheran; 4. Santa Margarita; 5. Tesoro; 6. Los Alamitos; 7. JSerra; 8. La Habra; 9. Servite; 10. San Juan Hills.

Checking in on the rushing title: We’re haven’t looked at the race for the rushing title yet, so as we prepare for Week 3, here’s our first look. Jacob Fimbres (Sonora) leads the county with 617 yards. He’s being challenged by Kalolo Pangia (Magnolia) with 563 yards.

The next group closing in consists of Jordan Antunez (Garden Grove) with 464, Ty Cole (Orange) with 454 and Jorge Briseno (Santa Ana) with 426.

The regular-season winner might get a segment on the highly rated, never-duplicated OCVarsity On the Record pod. That’s some real motivation.

The Real American Hero (for Week 2): Hayden McGinnis, Tesoro. The senior kicked the game-winning field goal to lift Tesoro to a 30-28 victory over Upland. It also sent the student body, hopping over the gates and rushing the field. And you know we all love a good field-rushing.

Learning from the experience: That’s what Tesoro coach Matt Poston hopes his team will do before the start of South Coast League season. The Titans have already faced Edison, Mater Dei and Upland, They still have nonleague games remaining with West Covina, Corona del Mar and San Clemente.

“This is a game that’s going to pay dividends down the road,” Poston said following Friday’s 30-28 victory over Upland.

The player to watch this week: JT Daniels, Mater Dei. The kid has passed for 438 yards with six touchdowns and just interception so far. The Monarchs are headed on the road this week to a feisty Upland team. The Highlanders did an OK job against Devon Modster last week, but he still shredded them for 351 yards.

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