Marina High showed a couple of wrinkles that Garden Grove wasn't expecting, and it enabled the Vikings to outgain their Big 4 League foe 174-3 in the first quarter of Thursday's game at Westminster High.
Those weren't the key numbers, though.
Marina also threw two first-quarter interceptions. The first pick came on the first play from scrimmage, and it was returned 30 yards for a touchdown by Mike Carrillo. The second pick came in the end zone and ended an 83-yard drive.
When Garden Grove found its footing, it was all but over very quickly.
Carrillo intercepted two passes, his sixth and seventh of the season, rushed for 228 yards and scored five touchdowns as the Argonauts cruised to a 43-6 victory that all but assures Marina will miss the CIF Southern Section playoffs for the 17th straight year.
Garden Grove (8-1 overall, 2-0 in league), ranked seventh in the Division 9 poll, heads into next week's Big 4 title showdown with Segerstrom. The Jaguars (7-1, 1-0) play Friday at Westminster (0-8, 0-1).
The Vikings (2-7, 0-2) answered Carrillo's pick-six with a 71-yard drive capped by Pharoah Rush's 33-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-two. They kept the Argonauts from moving the ball on their first two possessions, but Carrillo scored on Garden Grove's first two second-quarter drives and Ricky Gomez intercepted a John Robinson pass in the end zone at the end of the half to kill a 14-play march to the three.
The Argonauts intercepted four passes, picking off Robinson and quarterback Jack Miller twice each.
“I thought we had a pretty good game plan set up,” Vikings coach Jeff Turley said. “We had two opportunities to score that slipped through our fingers and right into their hands, so it's hard to recover from the turnover game.”
Robinson, normally a receiver, played at quarterback the first two series and periodically the rest of the way, giving Marina another running option in the backfield. That caught Garden Grove by surprise, and so did some of the Vikings' defensive sets.
“They're a tough team. They played well,” Argonauts coach Ricardo Cepeda said. “I think our kids underestimated them. I kept trying to tell them all week, 'Hey, man, these guys are not some of the [overmatched] teams we used to play in the Garden Grove League. They're coming in from the Sunset League.'
“After the first quarter, we kind of figured things out. [It was] a slow start, but we'll take the finish.”
Carrillo went 53 yards for a score on the second play of the second half, scored on a 25-yard run on the next possession, and his night was over. The fourth quarter was played with a running clock after Jacob Zazueta hit Quimari Winbush with a 25-yard touchdown pass the next time Garden Grove had the ball.
Carrillo has run for 1,753 yards this year, averaging almost 11 yards per carry, and scored 33 touchdowns, two on interception returns.
“That kid's great,” Turley said of Carrillo. “We knew coming in, looking at the film, that kid is a really good back.”
Turley said that Marina lost Rush to a shoulder injury in the first quarter. Sophomore Brantt Riederich stepped in and ran for 68 yards, most of it on 26- and 34-yard carries on the Vikings' first drive inside the five-yard line.
Miller completed 18 of 28 passes for 165 yards, connecting eight times with Nathan Pendleton for 92 yards.
“We took a big blow when Rush had to leave the game,” Turley said. “Riederich stepped up, ran real hard. Garden Grove made some great adjustments [to what we were doing defensively], and it opened some holes for them.”
Garden Grove 43, Marina 6
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Garden Grove 7 – 15 – 21 – 0 — 43
Marina 6 – 0 – 0 – 0 — 6
GG – M. Carrillo 30 interception return (J. Carrillo kick), 11:43.
M – Rush 33 run (kick failed), 9:28.
GG – M. Carrillo 79 run (Salguero pass from Haislip), 10:13.
GG – M. Carrillo 6 run (J. Carrillo kick), 4:36.
GG – M. Carrillo 53 run (J. Carrillo kick), 11:17.
GG – M. Carrillo 25 run (J. Carrillo kick), 7:34.
GG – Winbush 25 pass from Zazueta (J. Carrillo kick), 2:25.
GG – M. Carrillo 14-228, 4 TDs.
M – Riederich 20-68.
GG – Zazueta 3-7-0, 32, 1 TD.
M – Miller 18-28-2, 165.
GG – Winbush 3-32, 1 TD.