COSTA MESA — Costa Mesa High football Coach Wally Grant has stressed much of the season that the Mustangs can do more than just run the ball.
Teams that think otherwise would be wise to study senior quarterback Nathan Alvis' performance Friday night.
Alvis completed all eight of his passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns as the Mustangs rolled over Calvary Chapel, 49-14, in the Orange Coast League game at Jim Scott Stadium.
In the process, the Mustangs (7-1, 3-0 in league) clinched a CIF Southern Section Southern Division playoff berth after missing the playoffs last year.
"We're starting to play really well in all facets of the game," Grant said. "In the last couple of games we've gotten to show that we are not a one-dimensional team. Tonight, we got to throw the ball. They were doing a lot to try to take away what we do with [senior running back] Mario [Smith], and that opened up a lot with [receivers] Jordan [Walden] and Trace [Curet] and Nate. We can throw the ball. People need to understand that we can run and throw with great effect. And it's going to take that to beat Laguna Beach next week."
The Mustangs, ranked No. 10 in the Southern Division, earned their third straight blowout to open league play and seventh straight win overall. Mesa, seeking its first league title since 2008, expects the next two games at No. 6 Laguna Beach (currently 2-1 in league) and against No. 4 Estancia (3-0, tied for first with the Mustangs) to be considerably tougher.
"We've got Laguna and Estancia, and they're going to determine if we win league or not," Alvis said. "It just gets tougher each week. We've got to really step it up in practice and make no mistakes in the game."
Estancia football players sat atop the bleachers Friday night watching the game. They did see Smith have another standout performance, with 206 yards rushing on just 12 carries and three touchdowns. Smith has run for more than 200 yards in each of the Mustangs' three league contests.
His first touchdown Friday was set up by the defense, as senior noseguard Charles Mankin stripped the ball from a Calvary Chapel running back and returned it to the Calvary 15-yard line. Three plays later, Smith scored from two yards out.
After a Calvary three-and-out, Oronde Crenshaw added his own two-yard rushing touchdown. On the next Mesa possession, Alvis hit Walden on a precise 60-yard touchdown pass over the middle, laying the ball just over two Eagles defensive backs.
Sophomore left tackle Marco Zalpa, junior left guard Oscar Reyes, senior center Kevin Salyer, senior right guard Christian Contreras and senior right tackle Joe Delgado made sure Alvis had considerable time in the pocket.
"We had a great week of practice," Alvis said. "They know what it takes."
Walden got into the end zone again nine seconds after his touchdown catch, jumping a route for a 25-yard interception return to the house. The Mustangs were rolling with a 35-0 lead, and it was still the first quarter.
Calvary Chapel (3-5, 1-2) scored its first touchdown midway through the second quarter, trimming the lead to 35-7 on senior quarterback J.T. McLuckey's 23-yard pass to receiver Billy Weaver. But Smith ripped off a 69-yard touchdown run on the next play from scrimmage, and Alvis found Curet on an eight-yard touchdown pass in the final two minutes of the first half.
Senior cornerback Marcus Hayes also had an interception for the Mustangs. Calvary Chapel switched out McLuckey for Colin Kearon at quarterback, and they were sacked a combined seven times.
"We had a good hard effort," senior end Jake Comer said. "We just did our jobs."
The Mustangs hope for more of the same the next two weeks.
Costa Mesa 49, Calvary Chapel 14
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Calvary Chapel 0 – 7 – 0 – 7 — 14
Costa Mesa 35 – 14 – 0 – 0 — 49
CM – M. Smith 2 run (Marquez kick), 9:45.
CM – Crenshaw 2 run (Marquez kick), 7:22.
CM – Walden 60 pass from Alvis (Marquez kick), 3:11.
CM – Walden 25 interception return (Marquez kick), 3:02.
CM – M. Smith 56 run (Marquez kick), 0:23.
CC – Weaver 23 pass from McLuckey (Hisa kick), 7:11.
CM – M. Smith 69 run (Marquez kick), 6:52.
CM – Curet 8 pass from Alvis (Marquez kick), 1:46.
CC – Uhm 12 pass from Kearon (Hisa kick), 1:53.
CC – Aldana, 2-25.
CM – M. Smith, 12-206, 3 TDs.
CC – Kearon, 7-15-1, 66, 1 TD.
CM – Alvis, 8-8-0, 150, 2 TDs.
CC – Weaver, 3-46, 1 TD.
CM – Walden, 6-127, 1 TD.