Garden Grove Ends Three-Year League Victory Drought

Times Staff Writer

Garden Grove High School did more than win its first league game Friday night.

The Argonauts broke a three-year dry spell in the Garden Grove League with a 12-6 victory over Santiago.

“I worried the whole game,” Coach Jeff Buenafe said. “But we’ve already had some good pre-season wins (over Savanna and Costa Mesa) and I just hoped that would give us momentum for a good start in league.”


The team’s motto this season is “Whatever it Takes,” and the Argonauts came through handily, with touchdowns to conclude both the half and the game.

Santiago took off on its first possession. Junior quarterback Chad Carter, who led the junior varsity team last year, threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Clyde Perezcastaneda, with 7:06 left in the first quarter.

Carter completed seven of 17 passes for 115 yards and one touchdown, while Garden Grove’s Bob Ioja was three for 15 for 45 yards.

But Ioja scored once himself, after he passed 28 yards to junior Brian Swogger, which Swogger bobbled, held on to, and landed on the 10-yard line. An offsides penalty on the Cavaliers moved the ball to the five from where Ioja faked and ran into the right corner of the end zone to tie the score with three minutes left in the half.

But Ioja needn’t have worried about yardage--the Argonauts have Alex Ripley.

Last year, the junior running back started for the second year for Santiago. He transferred to Garden Grove and has been instrumental in the team’s success this season. Against his former teammates, he ran for 78 yards in 15 carries, including the winning touchdown with 2:47 to play. But his coach insists he is not working with a soloist.

“Tonight was a team effort,” Buenafe said. “We’re not a one-man show. This is the most we’ve used him (Ripley)--we’re starting 17 juniors. I’m just happy with any success we can get.”

Garden Grove had a scare with just over two minutes left in the game, when Carter marched the Cavaliers to the 27-yard line, but then threw three incomplete passes.