With the Laguna Hills offense running on all cylinders and Garden Grove's sputtering from the start, it wasn't hard to figure who would win the nonleague game between the teams Friday night at Mission Viejo High.
Laguna Hills (3-0), behind quarterback Justin Vedder and running backs Fred Kim and Dan Ciska, defeated the Argonauts, 28-14, in front of 1,800 to remain unbeaten and hand Garden Grove (2-1) its first defeat of the season.
Vedder, a junior left-hander, passed for a game-high 113 yards and two touchdowns, and Kim scored one touchdown and led all rushers with 152 yards in 21 carries. Ciska carried 15 times for 98 yards.
"We did what we wanted," Laguna Hills Coach Steve Bresnahan said. "Justin Vedder has complete control of the offense. He knows when to run and when to pass."
Vedder apparently thought the best thing to do early in the game was throw the ball. The decision worked well.
After a botched snap on a punt attempt by Garden Grove gave Laguna Hills the ball at the Argonaut 21-yard line, Vedder connected with tight end Chris Baedeker four plays later for a 27-yard touchdown pass and a 7-0 lead with 7 minutes 44 seconds to play in the first quarter.
Laguna Hills scored its second touchdown on a 10-play, 75-yard drive early in the second quarter. Kim, who carried six times during the drive, ran it in from the one to give the Hawks a 14-0 edge.
The Argonauts closed the gap to 14-7 when Jeff Meyers scored on a seven-yard run with 6:18 remaining in the second quarter. Jim Sebreros had the key play of the four-play, 58-yard drive, a 40-yard scramble to the Laguna Hills 11-yard line.
Vedder went to work quickly in the third quarter, teaming with James Lawson on a 32-yard pass play to pad the Hawk lead to 21-7.
Garden Grove responded on its next possession, going 89 yards for the score.
Sebreros, who led the Argonauts in rushing with 137 yards in 19 carries, capped the drive with a seven-yard touchdown run with 4:35 left in the third quarter. Sebreros also had runs of 21 and 13 yards in the drive, and quarterback Brian Schneider connected with Steve Hoalton on a 20-yard pass play for another crucial pickup.
Ciska finished the scoring with an 11-yard run with 2:22 left in the third quarter.
The Laguna Hills defense, sparked by linebacker Matt Johnson, deployed a strong goal-line stand in the fourth quarter that prevented a third Garden Grove touchdown.
Garden Grove drove to the Laguna Hills one-yard line and had a fourth-and-goal when Johnson and Chris Bevans tackled Sebreros for a loss.
"The key was the defense on the goal-line stand," Bresnahan said.
Schneider finished with only 49 yards passing for Garden Grove but made several outstanding defensive plays at strong safety.