GARDEN GROVE — Wearing No. 7, Nathan Alvis delivered his best Michael Vick impersonation on the football field for Costa Mesa High.
The Mustangs desperately needed a Vick-type performance Thursday night.
Alvis used his left-arm and two legs, similar to the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, to get Costa Mesa its first victory of the season.
The junior quarterback threw a career-high four touchdown passes and ran for two touchdowns, helping the Mustangs beat La Quinta, 53-17, at Bolsa Grande High and avoid an 0-5 start to the year.
Alvis completed 11 of 17 passes for 121 yards and rushed for 113 yards on 10 carries. The most important number for Alvis was earning his first varsity win as the starting quarterback before Orange Coast League play begins next week.
"That was tough," Alvis said of kicking off the season with four straight losses. "But that was what like [happened] two years ago. They were [0-5] and they came back."
Jeremy Osso coached those same Mustangs and led them to a league crown after they closed out the regular season with five consecutive victories.
Osso is hoping the nonleague victory gives Costa Mesa some momentum heading into the league opener against Godinez at Segerstrom High.
"They're rolling," Osso said of the Grizzlies, who are 3-0. "There are some things we've got to get better at. That long pass early [that went for a 53-yard touchdown]. [We have to] do a better job tackling on defense."
The Mustangs allowed running back Nicky Luu to record 102 yards and one touchdown on 16 carries. He left the game when it was out of reach for La Quinta (1-3).
Alvis continued to attack the Aztecs late.
The left-hander had already thrown a one-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Walden in the third quarter. The other three touchdown passes that went for 15, nine and five yards came in the first half, when he also scored on a 27-yard run.
Alvis' second touchdown on the ground came with the Mustangs ahead by 30 points with less than four minutes to play. Alvis ran back onto the field after Costa Mesa took over on the opponent's side.
On first down, with Alvis in shotgun, he faked the handoff to the running back, and then took off to the far side. No defender was nearby, allowing Alvis to go untouched on a 38-yard run.
Osso apologized for the late score.
"Our varsity backup is Tyler Sheffner," said Osso, adding that Sheffner left the game with a stinger after scoring on a 20-yard run two minutes earlier in the fourth quarter, giving the senior running back 94 yards on 10 carries.
"It's a read by Nathan. He made the right read. We talked about it. I can't fault the kid for doing what he's been coached to do. That's one of those learning experiences."
Alvis is a quick learner.
Forty-three seconds into the game, Mesa took a 7-0 lead, marking the second straight game in which it was ahead at the start. Alvis hit Trace Curet for a nine-yard touchdown pass.
Alvis made sure the Mustangs went into halftime with the lead for the first time this season and kept it for good.
Costa Mesa 53, La Quinta 17
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Costa Mesa 20 – 14 – 6 – 13 — 53
La Quinta 7 – 10 – 0 – 0 — 17
CM – Curet 9 pass from Alvis (P. Marquez kick), 11:07.
CM – Comer 5 pass from Alvis (P. Marquez kick), 4:28.
LQ – Nguyen 53 pass from A. Luu (Garcia kick), 2:38.
CM – Curet 15 pass from Alvis (kick blocked), :43.
LQ – N. Luu 2 run (Garcia kick), 11:12.
CM – Ramirez recovered fumble in end zone (P. Marquez kick), 7:36.
CM – Alvis 27 run (P. Marquez kick), 3:18.
LQ – Garcia 18 FG, :00.
CM – Walden 1 pass from Alvis (kick failed), 5:04.
CM – Sheffner 20 run (P. Marquez kick), 5:40.
CM – Alvis 38 run (kick failed), 3:35.
CM – Alvis, 10-113, 2 TDs.
LQ – N. Luu, 16-102, 1 TD.
CM – Alvis, 11-17-0, 121, 4 TDs.
LQ – A. Luu, 4-11-1, 90, 1 TD.
CM – Curet, 3-51, 2 TDs.
LQ – Nguyen, 2-62, 1 TD.