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WEEK 1 FOOTBALL: Garden Grove’s Bey has his way against young, inexperienced Pioneers

September 1, 2021

By Loren Kopff • @LorenKopff on Twitter

GARDEN GROVE-No matter what Artesia High’s record will be at the end of the regular season, the one thing the Pioneers will greatly benefit from is the game-day experience they will get over the next few months. That experience began last Thursday night as Artesia opened its season with a resounding 48-0 road loss against Garden Grove High at Michael A. Monsoor Memorial Stadium.

“Every day we play a game, we’ll always take experience out of it,” said Artesia head coach Don Olmstead. “Like I said [a few weeks ago], we have four guys with more than four games of varsity experience, and it showed. And [Garden Grove] looked like a team that has experience. They’re a good football team, and we knew that coming in. We got out of here healthy, and we did some good things.

“The hardest part is you can only tell kids so much what the game is going to be like until they have to experience it,” he continued. “Well tonight, they experienced it. So, we’ll get back to the drawing board and I think we’ll be better next week.”

Artesia had two drives in the first quarter, ran six plays for a total of 16 yards and punted twice while the Argonauts scored a pair of touchdowns. The first came on a 20-yard pass from Vany Rodriguez to Dominick Brito and the second on a two-yard run from Malachi Bey, who would have himself a great game. Bey rushed for 164 yards on 14 carries and if no one else on Garden Grove picked up any yardage, he still would have outgained the Pioneers.

On the second play of the second quarter, Bey scored from 11 yards out to make it 21-0 and following the third punt of the night from senior Adrian Martinez, Rodriguez hooked up with Brito again, this time for 55 yards and nearly 15 minutes into the contest, it was 28-0.

Artesia would punt on its first six possessions of the first half, not getting a first down until the first play of its fifth possession when senior running back Erin Moses scampered for 24 yards. That would be the lone play from scrimmage the Pioneers would get and the first of three plays of at least 10 yards. The other two times came in the next possession after sophomore cornerback Pablo Cruz picked off Rodriguez. On second and nine from the Artesia 14-yard line, senior quarterback K’Len Williams had consecutive rushing gains of 16 and 10 yards respectively. But three straight incomplete passes and a bad snap on an attempted punt led to a 15-yard touchdown run from Bey with 18.2 seconds remaining in the half.

The Pioneers began the second half with their longest drive of the game, which lasted 12 plays, and they reached Garden Grove territory for the only time in the game, But Artesia picked up only 34 yards and even though it was aided by a personal foul infraction on Garden Grove, the drive stalled at the 18-yard line. The Argonauts parlayed that into their sixth touchdown on the night and kept the drive going when Bey faked a punt attempt and turned it into a 33-yard gain down the right sideline with five minutes left in the third quarter.

“I thought we were finally executing a little bit,” Olmstead said. “Our protection was good. We ran the wrong route twice, which is something that is probably on us coaches. So, we’ll get better at that. We should have caught the one on the penalty. So, it’s mistakes, but they’re fixable. It’s making a catch when you’re sliding. It’s running the right route when it’s open. And those are all fixable mistakes.”

Artesia would get 12 more yards on nine plays the remainder of the game and finished with 109 yards of total offense. Williams, who was true on his first five passes, completed eight of 14 for 37 yards and rushed 13 times for 55 yards. Moses picked up another 35 yards on nine carries.

“Erin played great, K’Len played good, about what I thought he would do,” Olmstead said. “They’re the seniors with experience. Erin has been around footb

all a lot; he just hasn’t played a lot for us. So now, he’s kind of getting his time, but it still takes some time to get used to that. All the other guys haven’t played before.”

The Pioneers are scheduled to host Santa Paula High tonight on Artesia’s new field turf surface. Santa Paula would enter the contest 1-1 and is coming off a 28-2 loss to Oak Park High last week. In the first game, Santa Paula blasted North Hollywood High 46-0 and as a team, it has rushed for 141 and three touchdowns. Quarterback Marcus Castaneda has completed 16 passes for 219 yards and three touchdowns with Richard Vega catching seven of those for 92 yards and a touchdown.

“It will be great; it will be a fun environment,” Olmstead said. “We don’t know much about them, to be honest with you. They’re the only team anywhere close to our division that I could find in the state of California. It just worked out that way. I really hope we get to the point where we get to play them because it will be a fun atmosphere.”