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LEONARD ORTIZ , STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Rancho Alamitos hopes to contend for the Garden Grove League title this season behind the play of, from left, Christian Villareal, Siuai Tiliaia, Blake Culber, and Jesse Candelario.

OCVarsity Kickoff '16: Garden Grove League preview

STAFF WRITER

OCVarsity's scouting report for the Garden Grove League:

OC VARSITY PREDICTS

1. Garden Grove: It all starts up front for the Argonauts and they have big and good onen this year, led by junior Peslao Gauta. The Argonauts have won five consecutive league titles and has the look of a team capable of picking up No. 6.

2. Rancho Alamitos: The offensive unit should be impressive, with eight starters back, led by quarterback Blake Culbert. They have the look of the team most capable of dethroning the Argonauts as league champion.

3. Los Amigos: The Lobos have a strong nucleus returning on both sides of the ball. The key to their success will be getting production out of the ground attack. The defense is loaded with seniors ready to lead the way back to the playoffs.

4. La Quinta: The Aztecs could become the surprise team of the league if things break their way. Coach Andy Diaz is going to open up the offense, led by sophomore quarterback Michael Nadeau.

5. Santiago: Another team with a wealth of returners. The Cavaliers have 13 back and will rely on their junior and senior class to bounce back from a disappointing 2015.

6. Bolsa Grande: New coach Doug Cooper is embracing the challenge of turning around the Matadors program. He has a good foundation with 14 starters returning this year.

LEAGUE COACHES POLL

1. Garden Grove, 36 poll points (6)

2. Rancho Alamitos, 29

3T. Los Amigos, 19

3T. La Quinta, 19

5. Santiago, 14

6. Bolsa Grande, 9

How the poll works: The coaches do the voting. First-place votes (shown in parentheses) are worth 6 points, second are worth 5, etc.

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT

Michael Nadeau, La Quinta, QB: These are interesting times around the La Quinta football program as sophmore quarterback Nadeau takes over. Coach Andy Diaz said he is getting back to his roots of throwing the ball a lot more this year, and he believes Nadeau has all the tools and talents to be special. Diaz said Nadeau can throw, run, has size (6-foot-3) and can make all the reads.

OTHER IMPACT PLAYERS

Mario Moemoe, Garden Grove, CB: Moemoe earned third team all-county honors last season with nine interceptions. He was a threat whenver he touched the ball, scoring four touchdowns.

Blake Culbert, Rancho Alamitos, QB: Culbert put up big numbers last year and will lead a potentially high-powered offense against this season.

Tony Ta, La Quinta, WR: An intriguing player. Ta is 6’4 and joined football last year. Coach Andy Diaz said Ta had a breakout summer, it will interesting to see if it continues during the season.

Steven Hernandez, Los Amigos, WR/SS: Coach Carl Agnew said Hernandezz did it all last year and that’s going to be case again this year.

Angel Tajimaroa, Santiago, QB: Tajimaroa saw limited action last year and put up decent numbers. He’s the starter this season for the Cavaliers.

Andrew Guillien, Bolsa Grande, QB: The junior has been in the program for three years and he’s one of the offensive captains. Coach Doug Cooper highlights Guillen’s work ethic and athleticism.

MUST-SEE GAMES

Rancho Alamitos at Garden Grove, Oct. 20: The showdown for the league title. Can the Vaqueros supplant the Argonauts as league champions?

Los Amigos at La Quinta, Oct. 27: This game probably decides who secures third place. Last year’s game total 107 points (55-52).

Garden Grove vs. Pacifica at Bolsa Grande, Sept. 16: Fun nonleague matchup featuring the Argonauts and Mariners, good test to see where both teams are early in the season.

Santiago vs. La Quinta at Bolsa Grande, Oct. 7: League opener for both games, the Cavaliers have the Argonauts one week later, while the Aztecs have the Vaqueros.

RELATED LINKS

Contact the writer: dcalhoun@scng.com


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