Western football looks unstoppable in win over Garden Grove – Orange County Register

ANAHEIM — It could be a while before Western loses another football game.

The Pioneers recorded a 34-7 win over previously undefeated Garden Grove at Western High on Thursday.

It was the last non-league game for Western (4-1). The Pioneers are #25 in Orange County’s top 25 this week. Their only loss was Cypress, the county’s No. 10 team.

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Western begins next Friday, September 30th at Century in the Orange League. Four of Western’s five league opponents were winless this week.

The Pioneers have not lost an Orange League game since their return to the league ahead of the 2020 season, which was postponed to Spring 2021 due to COVID-19. They went 5-0 in the league in Spring ’21 with an average winning percentage of 49 points in their five league games. Western were again 5-0 in the league in the 2021 fall season with an average win percentage of 50 points.

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Garden Grove (4-1) plays Godinez at home next Thursday, September 29. The Argonauts begin Big 4 League play on October 14 in Segerstrom.

Western junior running back Josh Faulkner had three touchdowns, two receiving and a rushing on Thursday. He carried the ball 15 times for 77 yards and had five receptions for 44 yards.

His brother, senior receiver Drew Faulkner, had 12 receptions for 132 yards and a touchdown and had one interception on defense. Junior linebacker Joshua Shepperson had two sacks.

Pioneers junior quarterback Anthony Luna threw for 221 yards and three touchdowns. He completed 22 of 29 passes.

Garden Grove junior quarterback Branden Roth rushed for 41 yards and the Argonauts touchdown with 13 carries. He completed 8 of 14 passes for 53 yards.

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Argonauts senior running back Malachi Bey was averaging 169 rushing yards per game entering Thursday’s contest. Western limited Bey to 24 yards on 15 carries.

“I thought we had to be aggressive and go after them,” said Western coach Dan Davidson. “They run the ball very well, both with the quarterback and the running back. We wanted to get the guys in the pits so we couldn’t let go of Malachi.”

Shepperson said, “Our main focus was to focus on 28 (Bey’s uniform number) throughout the day.”

Linebackers Malachi Alatorre, Diego Meza and Ozzie Partida and defensive linemen Josh Atonio and Carlos Pena Sanchez were among the many standouts on the western defensive line Thursday.

After a scoreless first quarter, Western took a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter when Luna caught a touchdown pass from Luna to Josh Faulkner for 3 yards and a fourth down. Luna rolled right and threw a low pass, which Faulkner caught up before the ball would have touched the ground.

The Pioneers scored on their next possession. In third place at Garden Grove’s 1-yard line, Luna quickly fired a right to Drew Faulkner in the end zone for a 14-0 lead.

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