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Mario super for Mesa

High School Football

Mustangs senior running back rushes for 359 yards and seven touchdowns in key Orange Coast League win over Laguna Beach.

November 04, 2011|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza
(Steven Georges…)

LAGUNA BEACH — Costa Mesa High gave Mario Smith the nickname "Super Mario" for a reason.

The senior running back turned into a video game highlight reel Friday night.

Smith recorded a career performance on the ground, 359 yards and seven touchdowns on 30 carries. Costa Mesa High needed all of his production to stay in contention for an Orange Coast League title.

The Mustangs held off host Laguna Beach, 63-47, to remain undefeated in league play. Next is the Battle for the Bell for Costa Mesa, ranked No. 9 in the CIF Southern Section Southern Division.

You can call the Battle for the Bell the Battle for the Orange Coast League title next week. Costa Mesa took care of sixth-ranked Laguna Beach to set up a showdown with cross-town rival Estancia in the league finale.

The Mustangs and fourth-ranked Eagles each go into the contest at Jim Scott Stadium atop the league standings with 4-0 records. Only one team plans to cap league play undefeated.

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The two schools share Jim Scott Stadium, but they don't want to share the league crown.

The last team to finish without a blemish in league is Estancia, which accomplished the feat last year. The Mustangs will try to prevent the Eagles from finishing perfect in league in back-to-back seasons for the first time in Estancia's history.

"We're going to have to play a perfect game to make it close," said Costa Mesa Coach Wally Grant, who's in his first year in charge at his alma mater.

Costa Mesa has almost turned in a perfect regular season. The only setback came in the season opener. Since then, the Mustangs have been blazing.

They rolled up their eighth straight victory, posting the seconds-most points in a game in the program's history. Costa Mesa ran Smith behind the offensive line, which features left tackle Idren Luna, left guard Oscar Reyes, center Kevin Salyer, right guard Christian Contreras and right tackle Joseph Delgado.

Smith was 20 rushing yards away from breaking the 200-yard mark for the fourth consecutive league game by halftime. He hasn't played much in the second half of most games because Costa Mesa has finished off opponents by the first half.

This one appeared over at the break as Costa Mesa led, 35-14. But the Mustangs had to keep handing the ball off to Smith, who rushed for 179 yards and three touchdowns in the second half.

Smith scored on runs of 31, 3, 12, 4, 37, 1 and 49 yards. The effort was 55 yards short of tying Costa Mesa's single-game rushing record of 414 yards set by Charles Chatman in 1994.

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