Mesa looks for continued success

With new defensive scheme and different pieces in place on offense, Mustangs eye postseason.

August 30, 2010|By Matt Szabo,
  • Nathan Alvis (7) is slated to be the starting quarterback at Costa Mesa High.
Nathan Alvis (7) is slated to be the starting quarterback… (Scott Smeltzer,…)

It was a program that hadn't made the playoffs in four years before Jeremy Osso took over in 2006.

Now, the Costa Mesa High football team is looking for its fourth playoff berth in a row in 2010.

The Mustangs will also try to win their third Orange Coast League title in the last four years.

"We're physical," Osso said. "We're definitely hitting. We obviously lost some key guys, but we feel confident that our guys can help continue our three-year playoff run and make it a fourth. We think we'll be in the hunt for [a] league [title] again."

If they do it, it will happen in spite of an offense that starts the year without a ton of experience. Here's a position-by-position look at the 2010 Mustangs:

Quarterback: Mesa lost last year's starter, Todd Davis, to graduation after he threw for 1,713 yards and 13 touchdowns and earned first-team All-Orange Coast League status. His backup a year ago, junior Nathan Alvis (6-feet, 170 pounds) moves into the starting role.


Alvis only attempted five passes last year, but he is dangerous on the run as well.

"He learned a lot under Todd, but he brings a different style of play," Osso said. "I don't want to compare anybody to two Hall-of-Famers, but it's like Joe Montana to Steve Young. [Alvis] is a guy who's a little more athletic, and left-handed, too. Nathan's more willing to break the pocket and go. As a matter of fact, in mop-up duty last year, he ran for 105 yards on seven carries. He ended up being like the fifth-leading rusher on our team last year and it was all when the game was over."

The Mustangs' backup quarterback is senior Tyler Sheffner (5-9, 195), who will typically play fullback.

"He played quarterback as a freshman and he's got a cannon for an arm," Osso said.

Running backs: The Mustangs plan to start senior Julian Marquez (6-0, 170) and junior Jake Comer (6-2, 190) as running backs in their double-wing formation. Marquez is more used to playing in the secondary and even receiver but filled in at running back on a limited basis last year.

"We made it his permanent home this year because he's real athletic, and our tailback is generally the focal point of our offense," Osso said.

Comer was one of the leaders on the junior varsity last year, Osso said, and has great hands.

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