Mustangs dominate, grab first triumph

High School Football

Mario Smith, behind strong line play, helps Costa Mesa build 35-0 lead against Santiago.

September 08, 2011|By Matt Szabo

GARDEN GROVE — With so many offensive and defensive highlights, a spectator might be hard-pressed to draw the line and name one standout performer in the Costa Mesa High football team's 42-7 victory over Santiago on Thursday night at Garden Grove High.

Costa Mesa Coach Wally Grant didn't have to draw the line after his first win as a varsity head coach at his alma mater. After watching the Mustangs rush for 266 yards in the nonleague win, he just named the whole offensive line as standout performers.

Grant rattled off the names of Kevin Salyer, Christian Contreras, Oscar Reyes, Idren Luna, Joe Delgado, Jake Comer, Anthony McCormick and Jake Martin. He knows the offensive line guys don't always get the credit, but he said he challenged them after the Mustangs' physical 34-13 Week Zero loss at Buena Park.


They collectively responded in a big way against Santiago.

“Those guys put together a great game,” Grant said. “Because of that, my skill kids got to do what they got to do. Tonight was a great awakening for my big guys, and I'm so happy for them and very proud.”

Defensively, the Mustangs (1-1) made plays early to help break the game open. Senior Jordan Walden made an interception in the end zone on Santiago's first drive. A play later, Mesa senior running back Mario Smith broke a couple of tackles near the line of scrimmage and suddenly was gone, bursting up the middle for a 77-yard touchdown run.

Santiago (0-1), which came into the game ranked No. 8 in the CIF Southern Section Southern Division poll, took just two plays on its next possession to turn the ball over again. The Mustangs' Noah JeyaRajah recovered a fumbled handoff, then senior quarterback Nathan Alvis found Walden on a 13-yard touchdown pass. After two offensive plays, Costa Mesa had a 14-0 lead.

The Mustangs went on to score on each of their five possessions in the first half. Smith had all six of his carries for 149 yards before intermission. Alvis completed five of five passes for 88 yards before halftime, including two touchdown passes to Walden.

Mesa sophomore Oronde Crenshaw added his first varsity touchdown late in the second quarter on a seven-yard touchdown scamper. He added another short touchdown run, this one for five yards, in the third quarter. The large lead in the second half enabled Grant to go with his backup quarterback, Kurt Williams.

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