Rough start for Mustangs

COSTA MESA — Costa Mesa High could not even get the stereo to play for its halftime show. The cheerleaders did not have much to dance to Thursday night.

The Mustangs on the football field are off to another inauspicious start. It has been nine years since Costa Mesa last won a season opener.

The drought continues.

Buena Park traveled to Jim Scott Stadium and ran through the Mustangs en route to a 40-17 victory. The Coyotes snapped a six-game losing streak dating back to last season.

They picked a good program to kick off the season against this season.

For the fifth straight year under Coach Jeremy Osso, the Mustangs stood no chance in the first game. Costa Mesa has been outscored, 246-40, in its last five openers.

Unlike the other four games, this one was actually tied at one point.

After DeSean Grayson returned a kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown four minutes into the game to tie it at 7-7, Costa Mesa found the end zone again in the fourth quarter. This time, the game was out of reach with Buena Park ahead by 23 points.

The Coyotes controlled the flow with their ground game totaling 208 yards and four touchdowns. They took advantage of Costa Mesa being without linebacker Tyler Sheffner.

Osso said last week that Sheffner was out with an ulcer. The Coyotes' one-two tailback tandem of Carlos Ponton and Dorian Gibson made Osso feel sick.

Ponton rushed for three touchdowns and Gibson added another. The two combined for 159 yards on 27 carries.

Before the contest, Costa Mesa felt good about beginning the season on a right note. The Mustangs were facing a Buena Park team that has won once in its previous 34 Freeway League contests.

The nonleague portion of the schedule is where the Coyotes have earned their few victories in recent years. With a new coach in Anthony White, they went to work right away in their first nonleague game.

In the first quarter, Buena Park jumped out to a 20-7 lead.

The opening quarter was a confusing one for the Mustangs. They failed to recognize the line of scrimmage three times and once they forgot the down they faced.

Costa Mesa committed six penalties in the first 12 minutes, half of them defensive offside calls. A big mistake came when Costa Mesa called quarterback Nathan Alvis' number to run the ball on fourth-and-eight on the opponent's 37.

The coaching staff believed it was third down. Nope. Alvis gained just two yards and the Mustangs turned the ball over on downs.

Costa Mesa missed an opportunity to cut into Buena Park's 14-7 lead. In the next four minutes, the Mustangs saw the Coyotes march down the field in eight plays. Buena Park went ahead by 13 points after Ponton scored from three yards out.

Quarterback Jeremy Crow took advantage of Buena Park's strong run game by throwing for 152 yards and two touchdowns. He completed his first seven passes, including a 32-yard strike to tight end Javier Olmos that put the offense inside the red zone with less than a minute left in the first half.

With no timeouts and the clock running, Crow ran for 17 yards, setting up Ponton's third touchdown. Ponton scored from one yard out to give the Coyotes a 33-10 lead at halftime and get White closer to a victory in his debut.

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