SANTA ANA - The motto of the Costa Mesa football team is simple, says Wally Grant.
"Do your job, and get the work in."
That's the creed the first-year head coach says his squad lives by. Friday at Santa Ana Bowl, his Mustangs got their work in early and certainly got the job done.
From the opening kickoff through the third quarter, the Mustangs raced past outmanned Saddleback and easily picked up their second Orange Coast League victory, winning, 61-0. Things got ugly early but for the Mustangs, the win was a thing of beauty.
The game used a running clock at the start of the fourth quarter. By then, the Mustangs, who are 2-0 in league and won their sixth straight game to improve to 6-2, had done all their damage.
"We're a lot of fun to watch," Grant said. "The kids, my coaches, are reaping the benefits of their hard work. The kids are now understanding what all the hard work in the offseason and during the summer has led to. Truth be told, we have a lot of talent on this team."
Senior speedster Mario Smith was one Mustang who was off to the races from the opening whistle. He set the tone of things to come by taking back the opening kickoff 82 yards to the end zone.
"Why teams continue to kick the ball to that young man, baffles me," Grant said of Smith, who recorded his first kickoff return for a touchdown this year. "He's been a tremendous boost to our program."
Smith ran for 208 yards on 10 carries and rushed for four other scores.
Costa Mesa scored on its two first-quarter possessions. After his kickoff return, Smith scored on a 21-yard run on his first carry of the night less than four minutes into the game. He later came up with back-to-back beauties in the second quarter. First, he scored on a 37-yard run 34 seconds into the quarter, and on his next carry bolted 71 yards up the gut for another touchdown. By then, the Mustangs were cruising, 41-0.
Nathan Alvis also had a hand in two first-half scores. He scored on a 10-yard bootleg on a third-and-goal play with 2:53 left in the first quarter. He completed the first half by hitting Jordan Walden on a slant pass for a 12-yard score.
The Mustangs were in total command at the half, 48-0.
"The kids stayed focused at the half even though we had that big lead," Grant said. "They didn't let up, and that was great to see."
Smith scored his final touchdown on a three-yard run with 8:16 left in the third quarter. He exited the game on that high-note.
Junior Justin Smith completed the scoring on a three-yard run of his own with 1:17 to play in the quarter. Justin Smith went on to finish with 59 yards on five carries.
Costa Mesa 61, Saddleback 0
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Costa Mesa 28 – 20 – 13 – 0 — 61
Saddleback 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 — 0
CM – M. Smith 82 kickoff return (Lux kick), 11:49.
CM – M. Smith 21 run (Lux kick), 8:29.
CM – Alvis 10 run (Lux kick), 2:53.
CM – JeyaRajah 3-yard fumble return (Lux kick), 2:53.
CM – M. Smith 37 run (Lux kick), 11:26.
CM – M. Smith 71 run (kick blocked), 9:03.
CM – Walden 12 pass from Alvis (Lux kick), 4:01.
CM – M. Smith 3 run (Lux kick), 8:16.
CM – J. Smith 3 run (quarterback takes knee on conversion), 1:17.
CM – M. Smith, 10-208, 4 TDs.
S – Arvizu, 16-46.
CM – Alvis, 6-8-0, 90, 1 TD.
S – M. Hernandez, 2-3-0, 27.
CM – Walden, 3-49, 1 TD.
S – Kirshner, 1-16.