COSTA MESA — Costa Mesa High senior Jordan Walden caught seven passes in the first half of Friday night's Orange Coast League opener against Godinez.
Four of them were thrown by the Godinez quarterback.
"Their quarterback, I guess, wanted to pick on me," Walden said after his four-interception game, believed to tie a school record and one off the CIF Southern Section record.
No one was really bullying the Mustangs at Jim Scott Stadium. They did whatever they wanted against the Grizzlies.
Mesa had plenty to celebrate in its homecoming game after walloping Godinez, 59-7.
"It's all starting to come together," said first-year Costa Mesa Coach Wally Grant, whose team won its fifth straight game. "We're reaping what we sow. It's a lot of fun to come out here on Friday nights and watch these kids do what they've been coached to do. It's taken us a little longer than I wanted to get our defensive team rolling, and they're starting to roll. My assistant coaches are doing an unbelievable job, and my kids are working their [behinds] off in practice."
The Mustangs continued to be able to run the ball. Senior Mario Smith did most of the damage, rushing for a season-high 226 yards and three touchdowns on just 14 carries.
Sophomore fullback Oronde Crenshaw had just two carries, but they went for 96 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Nothing could stop Costa Mesa (5-1) after it went three-and-out its opening series. Smith found a hole up the middle to start the Mustangs' second series and he was gone, the 65-yard score giving Mesa the lead.
Three plays later, Walden got his first interception at about the Godinez 30-yard line. The ball was fumbled during the runback but it was fumbled forward to junior outside linebacker Noah JeyaRajah, who alertly picked it up at about the 15-yard line and ran it in.
Smith added a 60-yard touchdown run on Mesa's next possession and the Mustangs were cruising. Defensively, JeyaRajah also had a big first half with a pair of sacks, two of the Mustangs' five in the half.
"I'm really happy that we imposed our will early," said Walden, who remembers when Godinez beat Costa Mesa in triple overtime in last year's league opener. "We didn't make it so close."
Godinez (3-3) struggled without its starting quarterback, senior Raul Rodriguez, who Grant said was hurt in the fourth quarter of the Grizzlies' loss to Segerstrom last week. Backup Juan Bustos fought gamely but the Grizzlies couldn't get much going down the field. The Grizzlies turned the ball over seven times in the decisive first half, which ended with Mesa up, 45-0. In addition to Walden's four interceptions, they lost three fumbles.
Grant said he felt bad that the passing game didn't get going more with Mesa's rushing success. Walden, who did catch two touchdown passes from Nathan Alvis, still got more-than-enough catches on defense.
Grant said he believed the four interceptions tied a school record. According to Los Angeles Times archives, Corey Sides had four interceptions in a 1993 CIF quarterfinal game, the year the Mustangs made the Division VIII title game. At the time, Grant was an assistant coach to Myron Miller.
Costa Mesa 59, Godinez 7
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Godinez 0 – 0 – 0 – 7 — 7
Costa Mesa 21 – 24 – 14 – 0 — 59
CM – M. Smith 65 run (Marquez kick), 8:10.
CM – JeyaRajah 15 run with fumble (Marquez kick), 7:16.
CM – M. Smith 60 run (Marquez kick), 1:49.
CM – Marquez 46 FG, 9:15.
CM – Crenshaw 41 run (Marquez kick), 7:34.
CM – Walden 16 pass from Alvis (Marquez kick), 5:49.
CM – Walden 50 pass from Alvis (Marquez kick), 0:39.
CM – M. Smith 68 run (Marquez kick), 7:08.
CM – Crenshaw 55 run (Marquez kick), 3:21.
G – Valencia 30 run (A. Hernandez kick), 8:30.
G – Valencia, 18-134, 1 TD.
CM – M. Smith, 14-226, 3 TDs.
G – Bustos, 3-15-4, 23.
CM – Alvis, 5-10-0, 93, 2 TDs.
G – Rojas, 2-13.
CM – Walden, 3-81, 2 TDs.