Los Angeles Preps: Josh Webb

This year, Beckman wants to finish the job.

A year removed from losing one of the great Southern Section championship games of all time, top-seeded Irvine Beckman (11-2) finds itself in a familiar position: the Southern Division title game.

They won't be staring at a Josh Webb-type talent on the opposite sideline like they did in 2010, but there are still dangers out there in second-seeded Corona del Mar (11-2) when the two face each other Friday, 7 p.m., at Orange Coast College.

Four weeks ago they played for the Pacific Coast League title and Beckman opened up a 42-10 lead, only to see it evaporate as the Sea Kings scored 27 points in the fourth quarter. Beckman won its first league title, 42-37, but the section championship is anyone's to claim.

This meeting probably won't be anything like the last one, one in which Beckman changed up its offense and ran more, the CdM defense made uncharacteristic mistakes, and Brent Lawson (25 TDs, 10 int.) threw four interceptions -- two returned for touchdowns.

With no surprises up its sleeve, Beckman still must establish the run behind Jeff Kim (23 TDs, 136 yards/game) and Brian Brooks (4 TDs, 64 yards/game), which should make things easier on quarterback Cameron Biedgoly (15 TDs, 6 int.), who has improved each game. Brooks rushed for 150 yards in the last meeting, Kim for 129.

The things that benefited Beckman last time out are the mistakes that Corona del Mar must eliminate in the rematch. Lawson must turn in a typical performance instead of an error-prone one, and linebackers Frasier Anderson, Grant Garrett, David Moore and Aaron White must have a great game to help eliminate the big plays.

Corona del Mar has reached the semifinals three of the last four years (losing to Beckman, 24-3, in 2010), but this is the Sea Kings' first final since winning back-to-back championships in 1988 and '89.

With two teams capable of creating explosive moments, the team best able to prevent the big plays is likely the team celebrating at game's end. Beckman already knows the feeling of losing this game; for the 11 starters from last year's squad, they would like to experience the joy as well.
Servite, which won a second consecutive Pac-5 football championship this season behind a brick wall defense and a lightning quick running back, swept the top awards for the Southern Section’s marquee division.

Hard-hitting linebacker Matt Inman was named the defensive player of the year in the division, and running back Malik Felton – who began the season as a slot receiver but moved to tailback after a series of injuries – was named the offensive player of the year.

Troy Thomas, whose team won 25 in a row before losing badly to Concord De La Salle in the California Open Bowl Championship, was named the section’s coach of the year.

Eight Servite players made the All-Pac 5 team, while there were seven from Mission Viejo—which was undefeated going into the Pac-5 title game—and four from Los Alamitos.

Others who received top awards in their respective sections were quarterback Cody Clements, junior linebacker Aaron Porter and Coach Frank Mazzotta of La Habra in the Southwest Division; and Garden Grove’s Josh Webb – who played quarterback, receiver and running back – and Coach Willy Puga, and Corona del Mar linebacker Preston Risser in the Southern Division.

Here is a complete list of Orange County players who were selected. Click here for the list of all divisions.

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Orange County: Video support of Josh Webb's legacy

December, 11, 2010
Josh Webb has etched himself permanently into Garden Grove lore. His performance on Friday in a 31-30 Southern Division victory over Beckman really was the stuff of legend. Twenty years from now when students gather for a reunion, it will be hard to exaggerate the reality. Fortunately, there's video of Webb's performance, including the amazing touchdown and conversion that gave the Argonauts their first section championship.

Southern Division: Garden Grove 31, Beckman 30

December, 10, 2010
COSTA MESA – Josh Webb came as advertised on Friday, but all the superlatives in the world wouldn't do the triple-threat senior from Garden Grove High justice. Not after that.

Webb's highlight reel performance included three touchdowns and a two-point conversion, the latter with 1 minute 27 seconds left in the game, to give the top-seeded Argonauts a 31-30 Southern Division victory over Beckman at Orange Coast College.

“The journey is complete,” said first-year coach Willie Puga, whose team has been on an emotional ride for the past two season. It began with the death of senior linebacker Kevin Telles in the first game of the 2009 season and the commitment to win a championship ring for him, but Garden Grove lost in last year's final after quarterback Sean Young was injured. Puga, and Webb, say the spirit of Telles is still strong with this team.

“We made a promise that we'd get a ring,” said receiver Avery Williams, who caught six passes for 98 yards. “We didn't do it last year, but we did it this year. We kept the promise.”

Garden Grove (13-1) might play another week. The Argonauts will certainly be in the conversation for being the State Division III Bowl representative from the south.

It wasn't just that Webb put up good numbers – 16 carries for 191 yards and two touchdowns, 10 receptions for 144 yards and a score, three of five passing for 27 yards, and he blocked an extra point – but it the manner in which he did it and under the pressure that was on him.

His game-winning touchdown came from five yards. He went to the outside and then leaped over a defender with a complete flip. He landed squarely on his back, but it jarred the air out of Beckman. “Coach told me to go over the top,” Webb said.

He must have said go out on top, too.

Still down by a point, the Argonauts pooh-poohed the idea of a tie and went for two points and the victory. Webb was in motion and was handed the ball in front of quarterback Jovani Duran from the shotgun; Webb swept around the right corner and again took a flying leap – this time rotating over the top of two defenders and landing on both feet in the end zone.

“I have never have done anything like that before,” said Webb, who on the previous drive had scrambled 70 yards from one side of the field to the other – the only reason he was caught at the 11 yard line was because he was winded – to set up a game-tying field goal by Duran. That play was the biggest of the night, first-year coach Willie Puga said.

“Amazing, just amazing,” said Puga, whose team has been to the finals twice in a row after having not been since 1945. “He's the best player I'll ever coach. We've been working that conversion play all week.”

Maybe not exactly like it will appear on film, though. Said Williams of the aerobatics: “We don't do stuff like that in practice.”

Williams played his own role, leaping up for a 23 yard reception on the play preceding Webb's final TD.

If Webb – who completed three of five passes for 27 yards – came as advertised, Beckman (8-6) did not. The Patriots hardly looked like an at-large team that entered the playoffs with a 5-5 record. They answered every Garden Grove challenge, except for the last one, when Cameron Biedgoly was sacked by Brian Lozano and then missed on three pass attempts. Beckman had scored on its other three possessions of the second half. Jeff Kim carried 22 times for 137 yards and a touchdown. Biedgoly completed 10 of 16 for 192 yards and two touchdowns, and also ran for a score.

Beckman, which played from behind in the first half, played from ahead in the second. When Biedgoly passed 15 yards to Austin Archer to go ahead 30-23 with 3:46 remaining, it looked like its Cinderella season might endure.

There was too much time on the clock.

Webb was mercurial all right. Despite being well-covered, he made a great over-the-shoulder catch in the end zone for a 25-yard touchdown and 7-0 lead. Once that tightened to 7-6 – he blocked the PAT attempt Zack Rivera's one-yard run – he scored from 77 yards by peeling around the left side and outrunning the secondary. Grove's PAT was wide, and Beckman tied the score 2-1/2 minutes later.

Webb played a major role in that, too. He attempted to intercept a pass in the flat – and came close – but got burned by Andrew Flores instead who ran for a 72-yard gain to the five. Two plays later, Biedgoly scored.

Grove was its own worst enemy in the first half which ended 13-13. The Argonauts committed three turnovers – an interception and two fumbles. The first fumble, by the QB Duran, gave Beckman a 19-yard field and the Patriots cashed in. The latter fumble by Webb came at the Beckman three-yard line that went out of bounds in the side of the end zone with 2:39 left in the half.

But Webb got more chances. And he made up for it. And then some.

“This team has a lot of heart,” Webb said. “I couldn't let them down. This had to be our year.”

Orange County: Five things from the weekend

November, 29, 2010
1. Mission Viejo is a better team when Tre Madden is on offense. The linebacker is no longer just a wildcat quarterback, but could be the quarterback, period. The Diablos like junior Alex Bridgford – and he's a terrific talent – but he doesn't make Mission's offense as dangerous as it is when Madden lines up at QB. He was three-for-three passing with all completions going for more than 20 yards, he squirmed away from would-be tacklers in the backfield and he threw on the run. Madden is a stud. Of course, the best thing about Mission is that it got duly tested and performed in the clutch. The Diablos fell behind in the fourth quarter, 20-17, the first time this season they have trailed that late in the game. After that, Mission attempted only one pass – by Madden, good for 27 yards to Frank Randal – which set up Dallas Kessman's one-yard run to retake the lead.

2. Really impressive that Servite scored so many points against Crespi. Most critics of the Friars point to their middling offense, so a 40-16 victory was definitely eye-opening. The Servite defense came through again with another strong performance as the Friars opened up a 33-0 lead in the third quarter before giving up a touchdown. And special teams continue to produce, this time London Lewis scoring a touchdown after Cameron Farrell blocked a punt. But the offensive production was stellar. Crespi had given up as many points only once this season, a 53-47 shootout over Taft. Two of Crespi's other three losses were by three points – to Compton Dominguez in the first game under newly hired coach Jon Mack's reign, and to Bishop Amat. The other was a 28-17 loss to third-seeded Alemany. In addition to Malik Felton's emergence as a game-changing back (he had 190 yards and TD runs of 20, 49 and 65 yards) junior quarterback Cody Pittman rushed for 77 yards and passed for 108.

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Orange County: Five things from the weekend

November, 8, 2010
1. Orange Lutheran (5-4) showed that it has some life after all. Who could have expected that the Lancers would have beaten St. John Bosco (5-5) in easier fashion than Servite (9-0) or Mater Dei (6-3)? The victory by Lutheran, which got a fumble return by Jabari Wilson for one touchdown and another fumble that set up a 36-yard drive, makes next week's game against Servite far more intriguing, although history doesn't favor the Lancers: Servite has won four in a row, even though the teams have shared three of the last four league titles. Bosco was ranked by one media entity as the No. 26 team in the state, making them easily the best fourth-place team in California: Now the Braves, winless in the Trinity League, will easily be the best fifth-place team (unless they finish sixth by losing to JSerra).

2. Even though Trinity teams such as Orange Lutheran and Bosco would make the Pac-5 playoffs a lot more interesting if they were included – unfortunately there is no at-large berth in the division – one has to believe that Dana Hills (4-6) would sure be an interesting first-round opponent if they could be included as well. The Dolphins gave Mission Viejo and San Clemente all they could handle for a half – which is as much as any team has done with Mission – and they are ridiculously entertaining even in defeat. However, they were winners over the weekend, 39-38, after trailing by 10 points early and falling behind with less than three minutes remaining on a 57-yard TD pass from Jonathan Newsom to Adam Gann. Too much time remained for Trent Mason and Chris Kearney, who scored with 28 seconds left on a five-yard run. Mason finished with 237 yards passing with two touchdowns, and 179 yards rushing and two touchdowns. They may be up and down, but they're a lot more interesting than the third- and fourth-place teams from the Moore League, Long Beach Jordan (5-4) and Long Beach Wilson (5-4). And yes, I'm aware that Jordan beat El Toro and Dana Hills did not.

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Orange County: On the night he is honored, Kevin Telles guides Garden Grove once more

September, 15, 2010
I'm not an advocate of arbitrarily retiring numbers. There should be something special about the person who gets honored. It's not about being a great player -- there are lots of those -- but there should be something special, everlasting.

That's why I feel good about Garden Grove's decision to hang up the No. 45 worn by Kevin Telles – who died after collapsing in the first game of the 2009 season, a 9-0 victory over Westminster.

The spirit of Telles moved his teammates to put together the school's greatest season since World War II, and his final words, “Let's finish this,” are worthy of the commitment necessary to succeed in all things, not just football. It's a fitting mantra for the Argonauts.

Five months after his death, it was revealed that Telles died from myocarditis – an inflammation of his heart muscle.

One year and one day after his death on Sept. 11, 2009, Garden Grove beat Westminster, 46-14, in the debut of new coach Willie Puga. Josh Webb scored four touchdowns, on a reception of 56 yards, runs of 20 and 73 yards, and a punt return of 75.

It was another night to remember in the Telles legacy.