COSTA MESA — Costa Mesa High allowed Godinez to win its first Orange Coast League football game in school history last week. But the Mustangs wouldn't give Saddleback its first league victory in four years.
The Roadrunners tried to ruin Costa Mesa's homecoming and end a 17-game losing streak in league play. The Mustangs fell behind twice Friday night before coming back to win, 28-15, at Jim Scott Stadium, earning victory No. 1 in league this season.
"[The win is] nice, but we're not happy," Costa Mesa Coach Jeremy Osso said. "We're not satisfied."
Osso had to see Costa Mesa (2-5, 1-1 in league) battle back in the fourth quarter after seeing Saddleback take a 15-14 lead.
The Roadrunners believed they stood a chance to prevail in league for the first time since Nov. 2, 2006. They played in the Golden West League back then.
They are new to the Orange Coast League but the theme remained the same for the Roadrunners when it comes to league results.
The losing continues for Saddleback (1-6, 0-2), barely.
"They're a good team. They're a scrappy team, but we should have put them away," Osso said.
"[We got] inside the [opponent's] 10 [twice in the first 18 minutes of the game] … and we did absolutely nothing. That can't happen."
The Mustangs corrected their issues in three of their next four trips inside the red zone. They went for touchdowns on fourth-and-goal twice and converted each time.
The final one sealed the deal for Costa Mesa.
From one-yard out, Julian Marquez took the handoff from quarterback Nathan Alvis and leaped into the end zone. He gave the Mustangs a 13-point lead with 2:41 left to play.
Without much of a passing game, the Roadrunners did not have much time to rally. They relied on running back Luis Soto to move the ball. The senior turned in a career-best 281 yards on 43 carries.
Soto made it possible for Saddleback to go ahead, 7-0, two minutes into the second quarter. He scored on a 24-yard run up the middle.
The sheer determination made it possible for him to convert a two-point conversion run after the Roadrunners tied the game at 14-14 four seconds into the final quarter.
The Mustangs defense appeared to have stopped the 5-foot-7, 150-pound Soto behind the line of scrimmage. No whistle blew and Soto broke loose, giving Saddleback a 15-14 lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, Costa Mesa responded. Marquez fielded the kick at the five and returned it 55 yards, leaving the Mustangs with great field position.
On a third-and-five on the Roadrunners' 35-yard line, the Mustangs got DaSean Grayson involved. The speedster raced to the left before breaking loose down Saddleback's sideline for a touchdown. Instead of going for two points to make it a seven-point game, Costa Mesa decided to kick the extra-point kick and went up, 21-15.
The Mustangs decided to go with two placekickers, Peter Marquez and Tarek Ghossein. Each converted two PATs, an area that cost Costa Mesa in its 42-41 triple overtime loss to Godinez in the league opener last week.
The Mustangs' kicking woes from short range continued from last week. Costa Mesa missed an opportunity to take a 3-0 lead after the Roadrunners blocked a 24-yard field-goal attempt midway through the opening quarter.
The second time it reached the 10, Costa Mesa fumbled the ball and Saddleback recovered. The game was tied at 7-7 at halftime and stayed close until the final 11 minutes of the game.
"Who knows?" Osso said whether next week's league game against Calvary Chapel (6-1, 2-0) would turn out to be another nail biter.
Costa Mesa 28, Saddleback 15
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Saddleback 0 – 7 – 0 – 8 — 15
Costa Mesa 0 – 7 – 7 – 14 — 28
SB – Soto 24 run (Rosas kick), 10:12.
CM – Curet 3 pass from Alvis (Ghossein kick), 2:08.
CM – Alvis 13 run (P. Marquez kick), 9:46.
SB – Romero 5 pass from Aguirre (Soto run), 11:56.
CM – Grayson 35 run (P. Marquez kick), 10:45.
CM – J. Marquez 1 run (Ghossein kick), 2:41.
SB – Soto, 43-281, 1 TD.
CM – Alvis, 8-55, 1 TD.
SB – Aguirre, 4-9-0, 42, 1 TD.
CM – Alvis, 16-25-1, 219, 1 TD.
SB – Romero, 2-28, 1 TD.
CM – Curet, 4-50, 1 TD.