May 28, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

First big football game of the week lived up to all the hype; Orange and Santa Ana take center stage

Garden Grove players head out onto the field after winning the league title. (Photo courtesy Mark Bausman).

PRESS BOX COLUMN, By Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone

So many times, big football games don’t live up the hype.

Segerstrom and Garden Grove came into Thursday night’s Big 4 League football showdown with 8-1 overall records and 2-0 league marks.

It figured to be a battle between two really good teams, and it certainly was. Both teams laid it all out on the line and fought hard to capture the crowd.

Normally, crowds aren’t that large for Thursday night high school football but there was a great turnout of fans from both teams on this night at the Michael A. Monsoor Memorial Stadium.

When it was over, Garden Grove made one more big play than Segerstrom, a 2-yard TD run by Mike Carrillio, and won the game, 21-14 in overtime to capture the league title.

“That was exciting, that’s the type of game you want to have,” said Garden Grove Coach Ricardo Cepeda, who said it was the first overtime game his team has been involved in. “It was a lot of fun; I’m glad we won, it was sad there was a loser. I’m definitely happy we won the first Big 4 League championship and people have to remember, Garden Grove is a tough team.”

Both teams are headed into the CIF football playoffs next week and both could have solid runs.

“It’s going to be a dogfight every round of the playoffs,” said Garden Grove coach Ricardo Cepeda. “They will be very successful in the playoffs as well. They have a great program.”

It was a bitter loss for Segerstrom and head coach Joseph Tagaloa.

“Hats off to Garden Grove, they played hard,” Tagaloa said. “Unfortunately, they came out with a victory today. But like I said, ‘I’ll take my guys any time.’

“We wait to find out who we got on Sunday (in the playoffs). There are a bunch of guys in our division that are tough. Every Friday night from now on, is going to be a dogfight and we have to come ready to play.”


It seems like the biggest game in Orange County this week is tonight’s Orange vs. Santa Ana battle for first place in the Orange Coast League at the Santa Ana Stadium, a great venue for football.

Both teams rolled through their previous four games and have been lighting up the scoreboard.

Both teams are 4-0 in league play.

Santa Ana’s offense will be led by quarterback Julian Gomez, a dependable passer who can also run effectively.

“The next two weeks are really exciting,” Gomez said entering last week’s game with Estancia. “There is more competition and fun games. Everyone is really excited about the next few weeks.”


Fans of the Orange Panthers are excited too. The community is buzzing about the game and the students are all expected to wear white T-shirts for the contest. Coach Robert Pedroza led the Panthers to the CIF Division 13 title last year. Now he hopes to lead them to a crown in Division 9.

Please check out our coverage of the big game tonight on OC Sports Zone. We will have pre-game notes, a halftime report and full coverage, photos, video and stories. So we encourage fans of both teams to follow our coverage and enjoy their Friday night at Santa Ana Stadium.

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-Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone;