Costa Mesa High football coach Jeremy Osso said there was never a doubt about going for the victory in a 35-34 overtime loss to host Katella Friday at La Palma Park.
Osso called a two-point pass play after the Mustangs scored a touchdown in their first overtime possession, answering the Knights who scored to open overtime, then kicked the conversion.
"When I went out there for the [overtime] coin toss, the look on the Katella players' faces told me they couldn't handle anymore," Osso said. "I thought, 'If we're going to win this, let's win this now.' And the bottom line is, we want to go for wins. Everything was swinging our way and I thought it was the right call to go for the win."
The play ended with a sack, however, and Mesa fell to 0-3.
The last two times Corona del Mar High began the season at 4-0, it went on to win CIF Southern Section titles.
CdM, ranked No. 7 in the CIF Southern Section Southern Division, has a shot Friday to start the season with four straight victories. In the way is rival Newport Harbor, ranked No. 8 in the Pac-5 Division.
The Sailors are the home team in the Battle of the Bay at 7 p.m.
The Sea Kings' previous two 4-0 starts came in 1989 and 1988, two seasons in which CdM claimed Division IV crowns. Those are the football program's only section championships.
A win against Newport Harbor would be CdM's first against the Sailors since 2006.
Newport Harbor High tailback Buzzy Yokoyama limped off the football field Friday after Loyola of Los Angeles dropped him for a loss for the first time.
Yokoyama went over the 100-yard mark in his previous carry. The seven-yard loss put him beneath the total and he began favoring his left leg with 5:10 left in the first half.
Yokoyama bounced back in a major way.
The junior went on to record 197 of his career-best 294 yards and three touchdowns after the setback, lifting Newport Harbor to a 35-28 nonleague road victory.
Yokoyama said he felt fine after the Sailors improved to 2-0. He looked better than that.
The big games keep coming for Sage Hill School senior running back Taylor Ross, who rushed for 204 yards and two touchdowns Friday night in a 35-24 nonleague victory over Mojave. It was Ross' third straight 200-yard game to open the season.
Ross now has 667 yards through three games. The school record belongs to Keya Manshadi, who had 1,060 yards in 2005.
Ross already owns the Lightning single-season boys' soccer scoring record. Ross scored 21 goals last year, breaking older brother Braden's record to help Sage advance to the CIF Southern Section Division VII quarterfinals.
Clay Reinhardt topped 100 yards on the ground for the third straight game for CdM.
The senior running back has totaled 406 yards and four touchdowns during the stretch. He is averaging seven yards per carry.
Three of his touchdown runs have been from 33, 32 and 27 yards out. Two of those came Thursday, when the Sea Kings blew out Troy, 27-7, at Fullerton High.
Estancia High junior defensive tackle Alipa Peters regained his academic eligibility two days before the Eagles' 21-13 nonleague home loss to Buena Park Thursday, due to a district change in academic restrictions for student-athletes.
Peters' presence paid off as the 6-foot-2, 275-pounder had a 12-yard sack early in the third quarter.
Newport Harbor quarterback Austin Rios turned 18 on Friday. The senior played well on his special day, completing 11 of 16 passes for 113 yards and one touchdown.
Rios has thrown for 209 yards and two touchdowns, and no interceptions, in his first two starts of the season. Senior Parker Norton has been his top target, catching 11 balls for 82 yards and one touchdown.
Sage Hill cornerback Conner Ascher had a key interception, reaching behind his head in the first quarter to grab the ball and score to give the Lightning a 7-0 lead less than two minutes into the game. Ascher also had a huge tackle in the third quarter.
Mojave went for it on a fourth-and-four at the Sage Hill 40, and running back Jaquinn Tatum ran right. But Ascher grabbed Tatum's foot for several seconds and wouldn't let go, holding on until a host of Lightning teammates could converge for the tackle.
The play helped preserve what at the time was a 28-17 Sage Hill lead.
In Coach Jeff Brinkley's 25 years at Newport Harbor, his Sailors have played twice in the San Fernando Valley.
Those two trips have turned out well.
The Sailors' 35-28 victory last week against Loyola at Los Angeles Valley College in Valley Glen was their second big victory in the San Fernando Valley under Brinkley.
The Sailors' previous appearance in the 818 was in 2007, when they upset Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks, 7-3, in the first round of the CIF Pac-5 Division playoffs.
One impressive Ross run was his 61-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. He appeared to be stopped near the line, but wasn't brought down and burst through before cutting back to the Mojave sideline. The score, and Ross' subsequent point-after kick, gave the Lightning (3-0) a 35-17 lead.
"We've still got some things on our offensive line we're trying to figure out, and Taylor understands that," Sage Hill Coach J.R. Tolver said. "He knows things aren't moving as fast up front as we'd like them to right now. But I think you saw what happened, that he made the best out of a situation that could have been bad."
Sage Hill will be likely working on special teams after the Lightning nearly allowed a kickoff return for a touchdown for the second straight week. This time, Ross made a saving tackle on Tatum midway through the fourth quarter, after Tatum had returned the ball 55 yards to the Sage Hill 30-yard line.
Mojave also successfully executed a fake-punt pass.
"We still have a lot of work to do on special teams," Tolver said.
— From staff reports