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Victory without honor

October 21, 2003

BARRY FAULKNER

There are 11 coaches on the Costa Mesa High varsity football staff,

but, apparently, none with a conscience.

How else to explain the obvious case of victory without honor

achieved by the Mustangs Friday night in a 56-21 triumph against

nonleague visitor Santiago?

First-year Santiago coach Aaron Shahrestani reacted with

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appropriate disdain, refusing to shake the hand of any Costa Mesa

coach, and later correctly questioning the Mustangs' lack of

"football etiquette."

Shahrestani's protest was triggered when the Mustangs passed on

three of their final five offensive plays, including a 3-yard

touchdown pass, on two separate possessions that began with 6:44

remaining and Mesa leading, 49-21.

The two possessions included very few, if any, Costa Mesa

substitutes and the starting quarterback threw each of the passes,

including the final TD with 3:21 left that pushed the lead to 35.

Mesa finally began substituting liberally at that point, but the

damage to the Costa Mesa program's integrity, the responsibility for

which rests squarely with Coach Dave Perkins, had already been done.

This is the same Dave Perkins who, obviously miffed by some

outrageous comments made by Estancia Coach Jay Noonan prior to last

season's Battle for the Bell, generated questions about his

sportsmanship with his team's actions in a 41-0 victory.

Perkins either ordered or allowed onside kicks on the first three

Costa Mesa kickoffs that night and attempted two-point conversions

after each of the touchdowns that resulted from the Mustangs' five

first-half possessions.

This is the same Dave Perkins who ranted and raved during the

aftermath of a 31-6 loss to Northwood in 2001. After shaking Northwood head coach Rick Curtis' hand, Perkins shouted insults at

Northwood assistant coaches while protesting a touchdown pass with

2:31 left in the game. He wrongly accused Northwood of bringing a

receiver off the sideline on the play and later apologized to Curtis

and told his Costa Mesa players his postgame behavior was wrong.

Perkins' postgame behavior Friday was, arguably, more contemptible

than his inability to tone down his offense late in an obviously

one-sided victory.

He reacted with surprise -- open palms turned upward, mouth agape

-- and appeared to ask an assistant `Why?' upon learning of

Shahrestani's refusal to shake hands.

Perkins then dismissed Shahrestani's criticism of the ill-timed

late passes to reporters with a wave and a "Whatever."

Then, with two days of perspective on the event, he rationalized

his team's unnecessary aerials by explaining Santiago had 10

defensive players in the box. Even this questionable cover, however,

breaks down as it relates to the touchdown pass, since it came from

the Cavaliers' 3-yard line. From that spot on the field, anything but

10 players in the box is foolish, if not impossible, to avoid.

Perkins' athletic director might have advised him to call off the

dogs sooner Friday, except that Perkins is the Mustangs' boys

athletic director.

Perkins admonished his players for their five fumbles in Friday's

game, when, in fact, it was he who dropped the ball when it mattered

most.

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