ANAHEIM — The Costa Mesa High football team may be making a habit of not fully showing up early in nonleague games this season.
But the Mustangs are making sure that it's a mistake to leave their games early.
They made their fans, as well as those of host Katella, stay for overtime Friday, before the Knights prevailed, 35-34, at La Palma Park.
Just as it did last week in a loss to Santiago, the Mustangs trailed the Knights, 26-7, at halftime. But, for the second straight week, the Mustangs owned the second half. Unlike their comeback against Santiago — a 26-21 loss in which they failed to score on two late fourth-quarter possessions, the Mustangs were able to finally catch up Friday.
Senior Tyler Sheffner scored a pair of fourth-quarter rushing touchdowns Friday, the second with 7:42 left. A Peter Marquez conversion kick knotted the score at 28-28 and Katella missed a 45-yard field-goal attempt wide left on the final play of regulation.
Using the overtime format popularized by the college game, Katella opened overtime on the Mesa 25-yard line.
After three runs gained 12 yards, quarterback Roberto Resendez scrambled 13 yards around the right side for a touchdown. Resendez then booted the PAT.
Mesa needed five plays to answer with a touchdown of its own, with Sheffner bowling over the goal line on a six-yard swing pass from Nathan Alvis.
After a Katella called timeout, Mesa went for two. But Alvis was sacked to leave the visitors (0-3) one point short.
Things looked bleak for the Mustangs at halftime, after they managed just 13 yards of offense to the Knights' 262.
Katella's double-wing offense produced touchdowns on its first four possessions, though Costa Mesa senior DeSean Grayson answered the first score with a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
Costa Mesa scored on the opening possession of the second half, when Alvis hit Jordan Walden on a 16-yard touchdown pass to close the gap.
A high snap, one of four such miscues in the shotgun and punt formation (for losses of 60 yards), gave Katella (2-0) a safety that upped its lead to 28-14 with 3:55 left in the third quarter.
But a Costa Mesa defense led by Sheffner, Nick Cendoya, Nick Guzowski, Tyler Biggs and Ryan Barnett, among others, kept shutting the Katella offense down.
Costa Mesa had possession at its own 35 with 2:20 left in regulation. But, after a first down, a high snap lost 11 yards and stalled the drive that eventually ended in a punt.
Alvis gained 100 of his 106 rushing yards after halftime and he also completed nine of 18 passes for 82 yards and two touchdowns.
Sheffner had 62 yards rushing and 18 more on receptions, finishing with three touchdowns.
Nik Bush led the Katella ground game with 209 yards and two touchdowns as the Knights finished with 368 of their 418 yards of offense on the ground.
Bush also scored on a 17-yard reception and amassed 158 yards on five kickoff returns.
Walden had four catches for 40 yards.
Costa Mesa will be seeking its first win of the season Friday when it plays host to Ocean View.
Katella 35, Costa Mesa 34
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Costa Mesa 7 - 0 - 7 - 14 - 6 - 34
Katella 14 - 12 - 2 - 0 0 7 - 35
Kat - Bush 7 run (kick blocked), 7:59.
CM - Grayson 90 kickoff return (P. Marquez kick), 7:45.
Kat - Bush 3 run (Bush run), 3:56.
Kat - Hill 4 run (kick failed), 8:24.
Kat - Bush 17 pass from Resendez (run failed), 2:27.
CM - Walden 16 pass from Alvis (P. Marquez kick), 7:45.
Kat - Safety, bad snap recovered in end zone, 3:55.
CM - Sheffner 5 run (P. Marquez kick), 10:19.
CM - Sheffner 8 run (P. Marquez kick), 7:42.
Kat - Resendez 13 run (Resendez kick)
CM - Sheffner 6 pass from Alvis (run failed)
CM - Alvis, 11-106; Sheffner, 13-62, 2 TDs.
Kat - Bush, 19-209, 2 TDs; Beale, 19-87.
CM - Alvis, 9-18-0, 82, 2 TDs.
Kat - Resendez, 6-11-0, 60, 1 TD.
CM - Walden, 4-40, 1 TD; Sheffner, 2-16, 1 TD.
Kat - Dares, 3-36.