A HISTORY OF GARDEN GROVE HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
The Early Years
GGHS began fielding football teams when the school first opened in the Fall of 1921. The school’s first Annual, “Pep,” published in 1923, noted, “Our men, as compared with their opponents, were not quite up to the average in weight, but their swiftness and unity of action usually made them superior.”
The year 1924 was the first the school played a full schedule against other schools, going 0-4 in the Orange League by losing to Anaheim HS, Huntington Beach HS, Orange HS, and Tustin HS. With the smallest enrollment in Orange County, the school struggled to field teams over the next several years and did not compete regularly until 1928. Those early teams included 1928 graduate Harry Louis Lake, elected Garden Grove’s first Mayor in 1956. The Argos won their first Orange League game in 1926, defeating Tustin HS 20-0 and achieved their first winning season in 1929 when they finished with a 4-2 record. Clarence Hapes was the first Argonaut to receive county-wide accolades when named to the All-Orange County Team as Fullback in 1929. Head Coaches in those early years were PaulSpring (1922-24), W.W. Wieman (1925-27), and John “Mitch” Mitchell (1928-30).
Returning to the school from which he graduated in 1926, John Ward became Head Coach of the Argonauts for the 1931 season and coached the team for seven seasons before moving on to Santa Ana Junior College. Ward would coach 27 years at SAJC, including football, track & field, and cross country, and also serve as Athletic Director. Ward coached the Dons to three State JC Track & Field Championships and Ward Field on the campus at SAJC is named for him. Yet, the Argos did not win any League championships during the 1930’s. One of the most accomplished players during Coach Ward’s era was Carl Lehnhardt, who was named 2nd team All-Orange County Halfback in 1935. Carl would later be killed in action in World War II.
Clarence Hapes (Class of 1930), along with his brothers Ray (Class of 1933) and Merle (Class of 1938), were the first Argonauts that went on to play major college football. All three played as running backs and lettered three years at the University of Mississippi. They were joined there by 1934 GGHS graduate John Lehnhardt, Carl’s brother, who also lettered as a Fullback in 1937. Ray and Merle Hapes both led the Rebels in scoring. Merle, a Fullback, also played in the NFL for the New York Giants. Prior to the 1946 NFL Championship, Merle Hapes and a teammate were approached by gamblers in an attempt to fix the game. Even though he immediately informed league officials, Hapes was suspended from the game and the NFL. Hapes accepted a high school coaching position in Mississippi and later played for the Hamilton Tiger Cats of the Canadian Football League. Although Hapes’ NFL suspension was lifted in 1954, he never again played in the NFL. Merle Hapes was elected to the Ole Miss Athletic Hall of Fame in 1993 and his name still appears in several places in the Ole Miss record book.
The Coach Beatty Era
Blanch Beatty joined the faculty of GGHS and became Head Coach for the Argos in 1938 after serving as Head Coach at Oceanside HS and Assistant Coach at Santa Ana JC. Beatty literally switched coaching jobs with John Ward. He would continue in this position for 16 seasons through the 1953 season, the longest head football coaching tenure in GGHS history. During his years as Head Coach, the Argonauts were Orange League Champions four times and compiled an overall record of 56-54-5. After turning over the reins as Head Coach, Beatty would continue teaching physical education and coaching various sports at GGHS until his retirement in 1965.
GGHS won its first Orange League championship under Coach Beatty in 1942, tying Tustin HS for 1st place. However, neither team participated in the CIF playoffs due to wartime restrictions. During Coach Beatty’s initial years at GGHS, individual standouts for the Argonauts included All-CIF players Laurence Littlejohn (Guard, 1939) and George Donahue (Center, 1940). Donahue was selected 1st string for both All-CIF and All-Southern California. In the All-CIF press release, Donahue was described as, “A swift moving 155-pounder who outsmarted his rivals and blocked viciously.” All League Back Walt Donovan, a future Garden Grove City Councilman, captained the 1943 squad and Stan Beitler, a future Garden Grove City Fire Chief, was a standout running back on the 1941 team as a senior.
GGHS won its first outright Orange League championship in 1945 under Coach Beatty, going 5-0 in the League and 6-2 overall. The team had six players named 1st team All-League and Fullback Dick Vance was named 3rd Team All-CIF. The team was selected to play in a special playoff game for the Lower Division CIF Championship but lost to Downey HS, 19-6. While the 1946 team finished 2nd in League play, Robert Patterson was selected for the 3rd team All-CIF End and Bruce Smith was named 1st Team All-Orange League for the 3rd consecutive year, the first two years as a Guard and the last year as a single-wing Quarterback. Smith won 17 varsity letters at GGHS in the sports of football, basketball, baseball, track, and tennis. He became a teacher and Tennis Coach at GGHS and later at La Quinta HS where he led the Aztecs to the 1979 CIF Division 3A Boys Tennis championship. In 1983, Smith was also named California High School Tennis Coach of the Year.
The Argos won back-to-back Orange League championships in 1950 and 1951. After finishing in a three-way tie for first with Tustin HS and Laguna Beach HS, the 1950 team was selected to advance to the CIF playoffs. The team defeated Bonita HS 24-20 in the first round of the playoffs but lost to Palm Springs HS 14-12 in the next round and finished with an overall 6-3 record. The team was led by All-League performers Ray Ramirez, James Matsunaga, Leonard Schneider and John Borrego. The 1951 team was sole champion of the Orange League with a 5-0 League record. The Argos fell 42-19 to Citrus HS in the first round of the CIF playoffs. Backs Jack Elder and Marshall Vander Linde, End Leroy Ohmer and Tackle Richard Fletcher were named 1st team All-League. The team set a school record for most victories and finished with an overall record of 8-2.
While the 1952 Argo team had a less than successful year, going 0-8 for the season, senior Gary Davidson started in the Argo backfield. Davidson became a successful lawyer and, in 1974, founded and served as first Commissioner and President of the World Football League. He was also a cofounder and first President of both the American Basketball Association and the World Hockey Association. In 1975, Sports Illustrated wrote, “Gary Davidson has been one of the most influential figures in the history of professional sports.” The year 1953 was the final year for Blanch Beatty as head football coach and for the single wing offense at GGHS.
Dick Avery became head coach for the 1954 season after assisting Coach Beatty in 1953. The 1954 Argonaut team started the season by losing its first four games to non-league opponents; however, once Orange League play started, the Argos went on a winning streak and finished as undefeated Orange League champions with a 5-0 record. The team was led by Lower Division All-CIF 1st team Tackle Reggie Attix and 2nd team Halfback Jack Hart. Hart was also named Orange League MVP and was the first Argo nominated to play in the Annual California High School All Star Shrine football game. The team’s season ended with a 19-13 CIF semi-final round playoff loss to eventual CIF Champion Chula Vista HS, leaving the Argos with an overall record of 5-5. Hart was recruited to play at the University of California where he was a three year letterman Halfback and co-Captain his senior year. He led the Bears in rushing as a junior, pass receiving his junior and senior years, and scoring all three of his playing years, compiling a career total of 130 points and 20 touchdowns. He was named First Team All-Pacific Coast Conference and Honorable Mention All-American his senior year. Hart scored two touchdowns in Cal’s Rose Bowl loss to Iowa on January 1, 1959, the last time Cal appeared in a Rose Bowl game. He later was an assistant coach both at Cal under head coach Marv Levy (along with Bill Walsh) and at the University of Illinois under Pete Elliot and recently retired as Executive Director of the East West College All Star Shrine Football Game. In 2010, Hart was elected to the University of California Athletic Hall of Fame.
The Sunset League Years
The community of Garden Grove grew rapidly in the early 1950’s such that GGHS’s enrollment had become among the largest for Orange County high schools. As a result, the Argos played in the Sunset League from 1955 through 1961 against the County’s largest schools. The Argonauts found it rough going, never placing above 3rd which it achieved in 1957. The Argos had the dubious distinction of playing and losing to both Anaheim HS and Downey HS in 1956, co-Champions that year of the CIF Large Schools Division. In 1957, the Argos played an out-of-State foe for the only time in school history, losing 26-7 to Las Vegas HS. Starting with Rancho Alamitos HS in 1956, other Garden Grove area high schools began opening and siphoning off students and athletes from GGHS. It became difficult to sustain a competitive program playing in the Sunset League and the Argos were unable to put together a winning overall season record the seven years they played there. During this period, Dean Morgan was named LA Times All-Orange County 2nd Team Defensive Back in 1960 and Bill Retzer was named LA Times All-Orange County 2nd Team Safety in 1961. Herb Hill served as Assistant Coach for the Argo’s in 1953-1955. He later became the first Head Coach at both Rancho Alamitos HS and Loara HS in Anaheim, and ended his high school coaching career with 191 total victories at the two schools, the most in OrangeCounty high school football history at the time of his retirement in 1989.
The first intra-city rivalry game between the Rancho Alamitos HS Vaqueros and the Argonauts was played in 1958. The Vaqueros, many of whom had attended GGHS prior to when the new school opened, vanquished the Argos 20-12 in the inaugural game. The game was moved from Jason Field on the GGHS campus to Anaheim’s Glover Stadium in order to accommodate an estimated crowd of 7,000. GGHS Principal Donald Jordan and his wife Juanita donated to the game’s winner the Jack Jordan Memorial trophy named in honor of their late son. The Jordan trophy is still given to the annual game winner which, through 2013, has been played 56 continuous years, the longest current and continuous annual rivalry in Orange County high school football. Garden Grove and inter-City rival Bolsa Grande HS played each other for the first time in 1959 and have also played every year since, a total of 55 consecutive years through 2013.
The Freeway League Years
In 1962, GGHS transferred to the Freeway League which had been formed in 1958 as the third high school athletic league in OrangeCounty. The Freeway League included County schools with mid-size enrollment while the Sunset League continued to include the County’s largest enrollment schools and the Orange League the smallest. The move to the Freeway League proved fortuitous for the Argos as they won the League championship their first year. Under the direction of Head Coach Don Webster, the Argos went 4-0-1 in Freeway League competition and finished the regular season undefeated at 7-0-2. The team played perennial powerhouse Mater Dei HS to a 0-0 tie that year at the Santa Ana Bowl in front of a crowd of 6,000, the only time the Argonauts and Monarchs have ever played. They also handed defending Freeway League and CIF 2A Division defending champion Santa Ana Valley its only loss of the season, 7-0. Although the Freeway League was rated in CIF Division 3A in 1962, the CIF assigned the Argos to play in the larger-school 4A Division playoffs and the team lost in the 1st round to Pacific HS of San Bernardino, 14-6. The 1962 Argos shut out six opponents and allowed only 34 points in their 10 games. Halfback Henri Jensen was named Major Division 3rd Team All-CIF Back, LA Times All-Orange County 1st Team, Freeway League MVP, and Orange County Back of the Year. Safety Bill Retzer and Tackle Jim Patterson were also named to the LA Times All-Orange County 1st Team. The 1962 season was the most successful during Head Coach Don Webster’s tenure which extended from 1959 through 1963.
The Argonauts played in the Freeway League only three more years, tying for 1st place in 1964 and 1965 under Head Coaches Ed Uranich (1964) and Gerry Cheek (1965). Both years the team advanced to the CIF Division 3A playoffs only to lose in the first round to the eventual champions: St. Francis HS in 1964 by a score of 34-32 and Glendora HS in 1965 by a score of 27-0. Running back Bruce Nelson was named All-CIF Division AAA-AA 2nd Team in 1964. Mark Lomas, a 1966 graduate who played football only in his senior year, played college football at NorthernArizonaUniversity, after which he played in the NFL from 1970 through 1974 as a Defensive End for the New York Jets. Al Amirault, Quarterback for the 1964 and 1965 teams, also played Quarterback for the Fullerton JC Hornets and led them to their back-to-back National JC Championships in 1966 and 1967. Coach Cheek stayed with the Argos through their first year in the new Garden Grove League in 1966.
The Early Garden Grove League Years
In 1966-67, the Garden Grove League was formed consisting of high schools solely from the Garden GroveUnifiedSchool District. The Argonauts were a charter member and have continued to play in the League ever since. The Argos won their first GG League championship in 1967 under new Head Coach Jim Isaac with a team that finished 5-0 in League competition. Once again, the Argos drew the top ranked team, Temple City HS, in the first round of the Division 3A CIF playoffs and were defeated 21-7, thus ending the season at 7-2-1 overall. Fullback Fred Miller and Halfback John Russell shared League Back-of-the-Year Honors and Tackle Matt Montgomery was selected League Lineman-of-the-Year. Miller and Montgomery were also selected All-OrangeCounty. Miller, who had set a school season rushing record of 986 yards in 1966, lettered three years as an Offensive Guard at the University of Washington.
The 1968 squad finished in a 3-way tie for 1st place but did not receive an invitation to the CIF playoffs as only one team from the league advanced. In 1968, Argo Linebacker Craig Littiker was named Division AAA-AA 3rd Team All-CIF and in 1969, End Evan Rasmussen and Guard Brad Lambert were both named 2nd Team Division AAA All-CIF as well as LA Times 1st Team All-Orange County. They were joined on the 1969 LA Times All-Orange County 2nd team by Offensive Backs Willie Gardner and Jim Henkel. Dave Robertson, Argo starting Quarterback in 1967 and 1968, went on to play that position at the University of Oklahoma, leading the Sooners and their vaunted Wishbone Offense in 1972 to an 11-1 record, a 2nd place national ranking, and a Sugar Bowl victory. In addition to Jim Isaac (1967-70), Dave Selph (1971-73) also served as Head Coach for the Argos during this period.
The 1970’s and 80’s
GGHS did not win another GG League championship until 1975 when the Argos had one of their best seasons in school history. After the team tied for 1st place with a 5-1 league record, the Argos won their first two CIF playoff games against El Modena HS (19-10) and Damien HS (14-7). Weakened by injuries, the team lost 28-10 to Villa Park HS in the CIF 3A Division semi-final match. They ended the overall season with a record of 10-3 and were the first GGHS football team to win ten games, including a school record nine in a row, as well as two CIF playoff games. Quarterback Jon Harmon passed for a school record 1,290 yards and achieved second Team All-CIF honors in Division AAA. LA Times All-Orange County honors were bestowed upon Linebacker Mark Fata and Defensive Back Mike Gilmore that year and a record 13 Argonauts were named All League in 1975. Gilmore scored a school record 17 touchdowns and also tied a still-standing CIF record by intercepting five passes in a CIF playoff game.
In the period from 1976 through 1991, the Argonauts won two GG League championships in 1980 and 1991. They also received CIF playoff invitations in 1979, 1983 and 1984. In 1979, the team defeated Warren HS 24-21 in the first round but lost 42-17 to eventual champion Loara HS in the second round of the Southern Division playoffs. First round CIF playoff losses were experienced against Foothill HS in 1980 (31-0), Newport Harbor HS in 1983 (20-0), Fullerton HS in 1984 (22-0), and University HS in 1991 (7-0). The 1991 squad was the first in GGHS history to complete the regular season undefeated and untied with a 10-0 record. Players winning All-CIF honors during this period were Center Dan Mackie (1978 1st team Division I) along with Defensive Back Brandon Hoalton, Tight End Adrian Ioja, and Running Back Jim Sebreros (all 1991 1st Team Division VI). Sebreros was also named the Leagues Most Valuable Player in 1991. Don Mackie later played and lettered three years as a Center at ArizonaStateUniversity. Argonaut Head Coaches during this period included Dick Campbell (1975-78), Lou Randall (1979-83), a former Argo player and 1969 graduate, Jim Rawls (1984-86), Larry Hirt (1987), and Jeff Buenafe (1988-92).
1992 – 2008
Under Head Coach Jeff Buenafe, the 1992 team achieved 5-1 GG League and 7-2 season records heading into their last League game. The Argos then learned they had used an ineligible player in four prior League victories and were forced to forfeit those wins. Regardless, the team defeated Pacifica HS in that last game and, even though their League record was reduced from 6-1 to 2-5 due to the forfeits, they received a controversial at-large berth into the CIF Division VII playoffs. The Argos proved they belonged in the playoffs by defeating their first two opponents, Troy HS (30-14) and San Luis Obispo HS (20-0). The Argos’ playoff run ended when they lost to eventual champion Sunny Hills HS, 21-7 in a semi-final match. Jim Sebreros rushed for over 1,500 yards and repeated as All-CIF 1st team Running Back, this time in Division VII, and as the League MVP.
In the years from 1994 through 2008, GGHS won the GG League crown outright in 1999, and tied for 1st in the years 2000 and 2008. While they advanced to the CIF playoffs in nine of those fifteen years, the Argos were unable to win a first round playoff game during the period. Losses were against Sunny Hills HS in 1994 Division VII (12-0), San Dimas HS in 1999 Division IX (24-7), Covina HS in 2000 Division IX (40-20), Northview HS in 2001 Division IX (42-27), Northwood HS in 2004 Division IX (33-7), Corona del Mar HS in 2005 Division IX (28-7), eventual champion Kennedy HS in 2006 Southern Division (33-7), Anaheim HS in 2007 Southern Division (30-14), and Norwalk HS in 2008 Southern Division (38-6).
All-CIF Players for the Argos during the 1994-2008 period included lineman Eddie Vailolo and Linebacker Junior Diaz (Division IX 1st team in 1999); Defensive Back Thomas Parilla, Tight End Adrian Placinta, and Lineman Mark Whittaker (all Division IX 1st team in 2000); Lineman Tauveli Taumoefolau, Back Rueben Hernandez, and Lineman Eddy Ramos (all Division IX 1st team in 2001); Lineman Kamuran Ayas (Division IX 1st team in 2003); Lineman Ted Reed (Division IX 1st team in 2005); Defensive Back Spencer Wighton and Lineman Tyler Madrid (both Southern Division 1st team in 2006); Lineman Tyler Madrid (Southern Division 1st team in 2007); and Defensive Back Lucky Moemoe and Linebacker Zack Huff (both Southern Division 1st team in 2008). Ron VanderSluis established himself as 2nd all time in terms of number of seasons, games, and games won as a Head Coach at GGHS, with an overall record of 55-30-1 during his eight tenure from 2001 through 2008. Other Head Coaches during this period were Ralph Stevens (1993-96) and Kris VanHook (1997-2000)
The 2009 Team
The 2009 Argonaut Football team completed one of the most remarkable seasons in the long history of GGHS football. The season was marked by early tragedy with the on-field death of team leader Kevin Telles in the first game. Yet, the team vowed to continue on and dedicated itself to completing the season undefeated in Kevin’s memory. The chant of “45”, Kevin’s jersey number, became a ritual prior to the start of the 4th quarter of every game for both the team and the Argonaut fans. Under 1st year Coach Joe Hay, the team swept all regular season and GG League competition, finishing 10-0 and 5-0 respectively, before heading into the CIF playoffs, only the second team in school history to finish undefeated and untied in the regular season. The Argos finished the season ranked #1 in the CIF Southern Division and were seeded #1 for the CIF playoffs. The Argos defeated Bellflower HS (41-14), Beckman HS (38-21), and Norwalk HS (35-23) in the first three playoff rounds before meeting La Mirada HS for the championship. In the championship game, the Argos jumped to an early 21-7 lead before their star Quarterback, senior Sean Young, was knocked out of the game with an injury. The Argos were unable to overcome the loss of Young and several other injured starters and La Mirada HS rallied to defeat GGHS 49-27.
Coach Hay was named the 2009 Orange County Football Coach of the Year by the Orange County Register for leading the Argos to a storybook season under such emotionally adverse conditions. The team set school season records with 13 wins, 79 touchdowns, and 548 points while yielding only 183 points in fourteen games. Sean Young was named League MVP and CIF Southern Division Co-Offensive Player of the Year. He amassed 3,086 total combined yards in passing (1,644 yds) and rushing (1,442 yds) offense, ran for 21 touchdowns, and threw for 15 more. Linebacker Zack Huff was named League Defensive MVP as well as CIF Southern Division Defensive Player of the Year. Young and Huff are the first CIF Players of the Year in Argonaut football history. The two were joined on the All-CIF Southern Division 1st team squad by Defensive Linemen Stephan Meredith and Joseph Taufetee. A total of nine Argos were named 1st Team All-League while four more were named to the 2nd team, matching the total of 13 from the 1975 squad. Place kickers Richard Bain kicked a school record 50 extra points and Jesse Lozano kicked a school record distance 48-yd field goal.
After coming close in 2009, the Argonauts finally broke through and became CIF Football Champions in 2010. Despite having to replace Coach Hay and despite losing their two CIF Players-of-the-Year to graduation, the 2010 squad under new Head Coach Willy Puga believed they had unfinished business to attend to and vowed early-on to return to the CIF championship game and win. The team finished the regular season with a 9-1 record, losing only to non-league, intra-City rival Pacifica HS, and swept through the Garden Grove League undefeated. The team again entered the CIF Southern Division payoffs ranked #1 and as the top seed. In the playoffs, the Argos defeated Godinez HS (49-14), Woodbridge HS (65-43), and Northwood HS (35-21) before meeting Beckman HS in the Championship game played at Orange Coast College Stadium.
The Championship game was an exciting battle with the teams trading scores and the lead throughout the game. Beckman scored a go-ahead touchdown with only 3:46 remaining in the game. The Argos then drove 62 yards with Josh Webb provided the heroics by first scoring on a spectacular 5-yd touchdown pass from Jovani Duran and then running in the 2-point conversion to put the game away, 31-30, and provide the Argonauts with the First CIF Football Championship in the school’s history. As they broke their final huddle after the game, the team remembered Kevin Telles one more time by yelling in unison, “KT on three! One, two, three; KT!” After the game, Webb said, “This is for him. This game was all for him. We couldn’t let him down two years in a row.” Webb had turned in an outstanding performance in the game, rushing for 191 yards, catching 10 passes totaling 144 yards, passing for 27 yards, scoring 3 touchdowns and one two-point conversion, and blocking an extra-point kick. The Orange County Register rated Webb’s game performance as the best by any Orange County player in the 2010 CIF playoffs.
The 2010 team surpassed the 2009 squad in offensive productivity, with 5,478 total yards of offense, 81 touchdowns, and 563 total points, all school records. Webb, who played running back, quarterback, and defensive back, was named Garden Grove League MVP, CIF Southern Division Offensive Player of the Year, and Orange County Offensive Player of the Year by the Orange County Register. CalHi Sports named Webb to its All-State 2nd team as a multi-purpose player. He amassed 2,867 total combined yards in rushing (1,506 yds), receiving 937 (yds), and passing (424 yds). He ran for 24 touchdowns, caught 12 touchdown passes, threw for one touchdown, and returned both a punt and a pass interception for touchdowns. Webb set school season records of 38 touchdowns and 242 total points scored along with 46 pass receptions. He also set single game records for rushing (285 yds), total offense (414 yds), pass receptions (10), and had four touchdown runs and one interception return over 70 yards in length. Quarterback Jovani Duran set Argo single season passing records for completions (110), touchdowns (21), and yardage (1,756). Receiver Avery Williams also tied Webb’s single season school record of 46 receptions in the season and was named 3rd Team All-Orange County Defensive Back by the Orange County Register as well as All-CIF Southern Division Defensive Back. Team single game records were also set for total offense (584 yds) and points (65). Other Argos receiving All-CIF Southern Division recognition were Offensive Lineman Dante Russomano, Linebacker Alejandro Perez and Defensive Lineman James Turcato. Coach Puga was named Southern Division Coach of the Year. A record fifteen Argos were named All-League, including eleven named to the first team.
Continued Success Under Coach Puga
The 2011 team experienced what most would say was a down year for the Argos, finishing with a 4-7 record and third place in the Garden Grove League. The team advanced to the CIF playoffs but lost to Beckman HS 28-21 in the first round. The Argos rebounded in 2012 with another league championship and advanced through the Southern Division playoffs to the championship game for the third time in four years. The team finished with an overall record of 11-3 and recorded playoff victories against Beckman HS (35-0), Segerstrom HS (49-21), and Laguna Beach HS (35-21) before losing in the championship game to returning champion Corona del Mar, 35-10.
The Argo defense proved stingy all year and were led by CIF Southern Division Defensive Player of the Year and League Co-MVP Josh Huff. Junior Quarterback Angel Martinez led the Argo offense by setting several school records, including 142 passes completed in a season, 1,910 total passing yards in a season and 261 passing yards in a game. Angel was also named to the All-CIF Southern Division Offensive Team and League Offensive MVP. Others named All-CIF Southern Division were Offensive Lineman Christian Rodriguez, Defensive Back Semaj Nilal, Linebacker Bryan Quexal, and Defensive Lineman Masze Masoe. In addition, Quexel was named League Defensive MVP, Masoe was honored as League Lineman of the Year, and Willie Puga received League Coach of the Year Honors. Thirteen additional Argos were named to the first team All-League offensive or defensive units.
The 2013 team proved even stronger than the 2012 squad – some considered it better than the 2010 CIF Championship team and the best team in school history. The Argos swept through their first 13 opponents, compiling a 13-0 overall record and earning their second straight appearance in the CIF Southern Division Championship game against Corona del Mar High School. Unfortunately, the results of the championship game were a repeat of 2012 with the Argos again losing to the eventual State Champion Sea Kings, 42-21. The 2013 team set school records for most points scored (638) and average points per game (45.6) as well as total touchdowns (92). The Argo defense was one of the best in school history, allowing only 11.6 average points per game and at one point, shut out five straight opponents and didn’t allow a score for 24 straight quarters. They defeated their five league opponents by a combined score of 293-24.
The 2013 Argo offense was led by running back Sione Masoe set school records with 28 rushing touchdowns for the season and twice scored 5 rushing touchdowns in a single game. Masoe was named the overall Garden Grove League MVP. Quarterback Angel Martinez set school season records with 1,961 passing yards record and 27 touchdowns passes and was named Garden Grove League Offensive MVP. Defensive back Austin Christian intercepted 10 passes and the team totaled 21, both school records. Cristian, Offensive lineman Cristian Rodriguez, and Linebacker Brian Quexel received 2nd team All Orange County honors from the OC Register. Rodriguez was named Garden Grove League Lineman of the Year while Quexel was honored as Garden Grove League Defensive MVP. Masoe received 3rd team All County honors as an All Purpose Offensive player and Coach Willie Puga was named Co-Coach of the Year for the Garden Grove League. Eight other Argos were named to the first team All Garden Grove League. All-CIF Southern Division First Team honors honors were given to Masoe (OB), Martinez (QB), Alexander Ceja (WR), Rodriguez (OL), Christian (DB), Quexel (DLB), and Darwin Salazar (DL). Christian was also named to the California Division III All-State 2nd Team Defense.
Through the 2013 season, Garden Grove High School football teams have compiled an overall record of 378-410-27. The early years of the 20’s and 30’s saw limited success in terms of won and loss records as the school struggled against larger and more established schools. Under Head Coach Blanch Beatty in the period from 1938 through 1953, the Argos blossomed into a strong competitor to achieve success in the Orange League with four championships, adding a fifth in 1954 under Head Coach Dick Avery. Beginning in 1955, the school struggled to compete in the Sunset League against Orange County powerhouses such as Anaheim HS, Fullerton HS, and Santa Ana HS. In the 60’s success was again achieved, first in the Freeway League with three championships in four years followed by two more in 1967 and 1968 in the newly formed Garden Grove League. Competing in the Garden Grove League since 1966, the Argos have been crowned league champions or co-champions 12 times and have advanced to the CIF playoffs at total of 23 times through 2013. The 2009-2013 seasons under head coaches Joe Hay and Willie Puga have been the most successful period in school history with the team compiling an overall record of 54-13, advancing to the CIF Southern Division playoff championship game in four out of five years, and bringing home a CIF Championship in 2010.
GGHS Argonaut Annuals, 1923-2013
GGHS ArgoLog newspapers, 1932-2013
The Orange CountyFootball Book, 2009 Edition
All CIF Press Releases of the Helms Football Foundation, 1937 – 2003
2012 CIF Record Book
Orange CountyRegister and Los Angeles Times Newspapers
Written by Chuck Lake, GGHS Class of 1968
Updated May 11, 2014