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Mustangs still searching for playoff victory

Costa Mesa is still without a playoff win since 1997 as quick start Friday night doesn't hold up against Katella.

November 15, 2013|By Matt Szabo
  • Costa Mesa's Oronde Crenshaw is tripped up by Katella's Ben Cobb during CIF Southern Section Southern Division first-round game Friday at Jim Scott Stadium.
Costa Mesa's Oronde Crenshaw is tripped up by Katella's… (Don Leach, Daily…)

After watching his team commit five turnovers Friday night and fail to generate the running game it typically does, Costa Mesa High football coach Wally Grant said that Katella appeared to want the game more than the Mustangs did.

It seemed surprising, given everything that Costa Mesa had going for it heading into the CIF Southern Section Southern Division first-round game at Jim Scott Stadium. The Mustangs had won six games in a row and were undefeated Orange Coast League champions. They were also determined to win their first CIF game since 1997.

It was not to be.

Katella capitalized on Mesa's second-half miscues and topped the Mustangs, 35-21, handing the program its 10th straight playoff loss.

The reason why Costa Mesa won't move on to face No. 2-seeded Garden Grove, which beat Orange, 42-10, in another Southern Division first-round game, was simple to Grant.

"We win and lose games up front, and we didn't do very well up front," he said. "They physically took it to us. You've got to hand it to them."

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The Mustangs (7-4) appeared all too willing to hand the game to the Knights (8-3). Three times in the second half, they lost fumbles on their own side of the field. The first two came on running plays, the third as the Mesa quarterback tried to fend off a sack.

Katella junior middle linebacker Christian Lowrance, who seemed to be around the ball all night, caused the first fumble. It was recovered by junior lineman Jose Pereida.

"I just filled the hole and put my facemask into his chest, and the ball came out," Lowrance said.

Lowrance exited the stadium after the game with a bloody lip and a bloody uniform. It was worth it to him after his team beat the Mustangs for the second time this year. Katella also won, 21-16, earlier this season, although Mesa was without senior standouts Oronde Crenshaw and Quinton Bell in that game.

Katella held Crenshaw to 105 yards on 21 carries on Friday night.

"We practice hard, and yeah man, we did everything right," Lowrance said. "It all happens in the game. We did what our coach told us to do: fill the holes, watch the guard pull, pass protection, everything. It was one heck of a game, though, I'm not going to lie."

Katella scored touchdowns after each turnover. The second one came on a three-yard run by fullback Jose Bermejo, listed at 5-foot-11 and 285 pounds. Bermejo's second touchdown of the night came with 9:26 to go, giving the Knights a 35-14 advantage.

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