Southern Section Division IX rankings.
Should Coach Jerry Howell's 3-0 squad fixate on its top ranking, it
could be knocked from the unbeaten ranks just as easily as Brea was.
Overconfidence, however, should not be a problem for Mesa, which
required a 22-yard Luis Avalos field goal with 11 seconds left last week
to defeat winless Westminster, 24-22.
"(The late field goal) lets our kids know we can meet that kind of
challenge, but I'd just as soon it not come to that," Howell said.
The challenge this week for Costa Mesa includes some talented Seahawk
skill players, including junior quarterback Patrick Campbell.
Campbell, a star receiver as a sophomore (a school
single-season-record 64 catches for more than 700 yards and eight
touchdowns) has thrown for 422 yards and two TDs this fall. He has
completed 25 of 69 with just one interception and is also, Howell said, a
"He scrambles everywhere, so we're going to have to do a good job of
getting after him," Howell said. "We have to keep him from scrambling,
because if he has time to throw, he'll hurt us."
Campbell's prime target is 6-foot-3 senior Phillip Smith, who has 11
catches for 183 yards.
The Seahawks' ground game is led by running back Jason Rhoads, who has
243 yards on 52 carries.
The Mustangs, who have given up more yards passing than rushing
(452-297), figure to be without starting cornerback Josh Strickland, who
suffered a thigh bruise last week. Senior Billy Jordan will make his
first varsity start in place of Strickland.
Junior Nick Cabico, the other starting cornerback, who also went down
last week with a concussion, is penciled in to start this week on
Cabico, the team's leading ground gainer (220 yards on 29 carries),
will not start on offense, giving way to sophomore Keola Asuega.
Asuega, who started at fullback last week, rushed for 158 yards and
three TDs against Westminster. He has 198 yards on 38 carries for the
Additional ground weapons for the Mustangs are Alvin Nguyen (191 yards
and five TDs), Jason Hurley (143 yards and two TDs) and fullback Daniel
Hunter (139 yards).
If Ocean View (2-1) stacks the line to try to stop the ground attack
which has averaged nearly 290 yards thus far, senior quarterback Patrick
Hulliger will take aim at padding his impressive passing numbers. The
left-hander has completed 27 of 48 for 346 yards and two touchdowns.
Hulliger's favorite target has been senior Lenny Lukela, who has 10
catches for 110 yards.
Mesa's per-game scoring average of 41.3 points, is second best in
Orange County and, Howell said, Offensive Coordinator Tom Baldwin has
guaranteed him at least 31 points this week.
Ocean View, however, has only given up 30 points to its first three
If Baldwin is true to his word, it should be more than enough for a
Costa Mesa defense led by senior inside linebacker Luis Day and tackles
Antony Grubisich and Danny Mardikian.
A victory would give Mesa only its second 4-0 start in the school's
41-season varsity history. The 1997 Mustangs opened 8-0.