High School Football: Mustangs hang on for win

ANAHEIM — Seniors Oronde Crenshaw and Quinton Bell returned to action for the Costa Mesa High football team Friday night.

Think their presence was felt? Crenshaw's five-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, combined with Cameron Curet's subsequent extra point, gave the Mustangs their first lead in three weeks. They hadn't led since the last game in which Crenshaw played.

The senior tailback and linebacker had a big game in his return from nagging right foot injuries. Savanna probably wished he had stayed on the sidelines.

Crenshaw had 123 rushing yards and a touchdown as the Mustangs earned a 21-19 nonleague victory over the Rebels at Glover Stadium.

Costa Mesa (2-3), which had lost two straight, goes into its bye week with some momentum. As importantly, the Mustangs got a lot more healthy with two of their top players back in the lineup. Bell, who caught three passes, played in his first game of the season after suffering a hip flexor injury during the Mustangs' scrimmage.

Crenshaw left the game early in the fourth quarter after he said he aggravated his right ankle injury. He stood on the sidelines, helmet off and arms crossed, but said he'd be fine for the Battle for the Bell game and Orange Coast League opener against rival Estancia on Oct. 11.

"It's fine now," Crenshaw said. "It was hurting for a little bit, but now it stopped. Not too bad. It was just a little aggravated. I'll rehabilitate it, ice it and everything. It'll be fine, just fine."

The Mustangs were only able to ice the game at the very end, after the Rebels (1-3) scored with 3:42 left on a two-yard run by Robert Rogel. They did so with some power running by senior Jason Garcia, who earned two first downs to run the clock out.

Garcia also had scored on a 14-yard run earlier in the fourth quarter, giving Mesa a 20-12 lead. The Mustangs were assessed a personal foul on the extra-point attempt, but Curet was able to nail it from 35 yards out. The play was big, eliminating a possible Savanna tying score and two-point conversion.

The game got more than a little feisty after that, with personal fouls on both sides, but Costa Mesa was able to hang on.

Mesa Coach Wally Grant said he was impressed with his team's defensive effort. The biggest play was when senior end Edgar Molina stripped the ball-carrier near the line of scrimmage midway through the second quarter. Molina ran it back into the end zone himself for 33 yards, giving the Mustangs a 14-6 lead that they took into halftime.

"The defense played a heck of a game out there," Grant said. "The sophomores and the front line did a heck of a job again. The defense is keeping us in ball games. The offense, that line finally decided that they were going to take over on that [fourth-quarter] drive, [even though] they had everyone in the box trying to stop us. That was Mesa football right there, at its finest."

The drive went 72 yards on 11 plays, all of which were runs. Neither team attempted a pass in the second half.

Sophomore quarterback Nate Gonzalez did much of the damage himself for Savanna on keeper plays. He finished with 110 rushing yards and a touchdown, and Rogel and Ben Torres also had touchdowns. Torres scored on a 67-yard run on the Rebels' first play from scrimmage.

But Mesa buckled down at the end to earn the much-needed victory.

"You know, it's fun," Crenshaw said. "We were already coming into the game knowing that we were going to pull out a 'W.' That's how we're going to go into every game. Sometimes we don't, but if that happens, you've just got to learn from it."

Just after the Mustangs left the field, the nightly fireworks started going off at nearby Disneyland. The Mustangs now have two weeks to prepare for the fireworks of their rivalry game.

Costa Mesa 21, Savanna 19


Costa Mesa 7 – 7 – 0 – 7 — 21

Savanna 6 – 0 – 6 – 7 — 19


Sav – Torres 67 run (kick failed), 7:57.

CM – Crenshaw 5 run (Curet kick), 2:44.


CM – Molina 33 fumble return (Curet kick), 5:09.


Sav – Gonzalez 11 run (run failed), 0:42.


CM – Garcia 14 run (Curet kick), 7:34.

Sav – Rogel 2 run (Abdulkarim kick), 3:42.


CM – Crenshaw, 22-123, 1 TD; Garcia, 17-62, 1 TD.

Sav – Gonzalez, 20-110, 1 TD; Torres, 6-79, 1 TD; Rogel, 9-69, 1 TD.


CM – Ferris, 4-7-0, 33.

Sav – Gonzalez, 0-3-1, 0.


CM – Bell, 3-17.

Sav – none.

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