High School Football Preview: Mesa looking for more

Program, which has not won a playoff game since 1997, looking to end that streak this season.

August 27, 2013|By Matt Szabo
(KEVIN CHANG / Daily…)

There are two streaks that the Costa Mesa High football team would like to end this season, one at the beginning and one at the end.

The Mustangs have lost their last 11 straight season openers. They can change that Friday, when they travel to Western.

The second streak is longer, and ultimately far more important. The program also has not won a playoff game since 1997.

It's safe to say that Costa Mesa, which finished 4-6 a year ago and failed to make the playoffs, would like to end both streaks.

"I think we can do some big things this year," said senior tight end/defensive end Joseph Quiroz. "We're not just faster, but stronger. We're going to change a lot of things this year."

Costa Mesa has returning athletes with big-play ability, like senior tailback/middle linebacker Oronde Crenshaw and senior receiver/outside linebacker Quinton Bell.

Crenshaw rushed for 1,371 yards and an area-best 17 touchdowns last year. The numbers were impressive, considering his carries were limited at the start of the season. In the last three league games alone, Crenshaw ran for a combined 841 yards and 11 touchdowns. And at linebacker, he earned Newport-Mesa Defensive Player of the Year honors.


For Bell, who stands 6-foot-4, it took just one catch in last week's scrimmage against Duarte to make his abilities evident. He took the first pass from senior quarterback Oliver Ferris for a 65-yard touchdown.

"We should be going really far this year," Bell said. "We have a really good team, really good players. A lot of athletes, and a bigger and better line. I think everything all-around is better than it was last year."

Coach Wally Grant has stressed that the offensive line needs to make plays and stay healthy, to give those players a chance to make plays. Senior Marco Zalpa, a right guard who was a Newport-Mesa Dream Team selection last year, is a returning leader on the line.

Zalpa said he has confidence in the team as well. Many of the components are there from three years ago, when the Mustangs beat Estancia in the freshman bell game.

"We've kind of proven a point since our freshman year, that we're a good team," Zalpa said. "We're pretty much still intact."

Grant has said that he considers Crenshaw, Bell, Zalpa and Quiroz as Division 1 talent at the next level. But first, they would like to end those streaks. Another losing streak against the Mustangs is that they haven't beaten their crosstown rivals at Estancia since 2009.

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