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Crenshaw helps Mesa get back on track

Daily Pilot High School Football Player of the Week

Senior standout, who sat out two games because of injury, returns to lead Mustangs to 21-19 win against Savanna.

October 03, 2013|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza
(SCOTT SMELTZER…)

On many Tuesday nights, up to two dozen football players pack a classroom at Costa Mesa High. They arrive after a long and grueling football practice for help with their schoolwork.

Some players don't even have to show up for tutoring. They come and support their teammates who need to improve their grades or improve in certain subjects.

Some come to just eat.

"It's not a cheap dinner. They're getting some solid food in there," Costa Mesa Coach Wally Grant says of the chicken and steak bowls players ate on a recent Tuesday night.

Oronde Crenshaw is one of those players who makes the one-hour session. He's not going to lie, the food, donated by local restaurants, lures him into the classroom.

The reason why he's in the room is because one subject gnaws at him.

"I suck at math," Crenshaw says. "When it is math, and I'm not able to get it, I get a little frustrated with myself because I feel like I should get it. I start getting unfocused and start over-thinking things."

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If Crenshaw could tackle math problems as successful as he does whoever has the ball on the field as a middle linebacker, he wouldn't have to be in that room.

Making time for that room is vital to Crenshaw's future. Grant reminds Crenshaw why.

"He'll love [math]," Grant says, "because that's what will get him to the next step."

Playing football in college is Crenshaw's goal. The senior has the talent as he says Arizona State, Boise State, Fordham and UCLA are a few schools following him. His coaches, teammates, tutors and his family members are doing their best to make sure he qualifies for college as a student.

Four days a week, Crenshaw says he's studying for the SAT. The prep classes for the test he takes in November are all free, thanks to his aunt, Tanya Mora.

Crenshaw says Mora has tutored students on the college entrance exam. He goes over her house and spends up to three hours there, learning 20 new words and writing essays in 25 minutes.

The short time to write to Crenshaw feels like the Mustangs' run-heavy offense running the two-minute drill. There's no time to waste. He has to score as many points as possible in this portion of the test.

"I've been getting so much better at writing these essays," Crenshaw says. "It's just good to be able to, you know, feel better in something that you didn't feel like you were that strong in. At first [it was intimidating]."

Crenshaw has been able to focus on the SAT since nagging right foot injuries sidelined him for two weeks.

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