High School Football: Mesa clinches playoff spot

SANTA ANA — Almost every time the PA announcer called the name of a Costa Mesa High player, he began with the last name, followed by the first.

Someone might want to update the Mustangs' football roster. First names first, last names second.

What truly matters to the Mustangs is hearing where they're at in the Orange Coast League standings: first place. They are looking like the class of the league. Remember their names.

Costa Mesa went on the road Saturday, not too far from home, and walloped Saddleback, 54-12, at Segerstrom High. The result kept the Mustangs atop the league with Calvary Chapel and clinched a berth into the CIF Southern Section Southern Division playoffs, their first in two years.

The Mustangs faced the worst team in the league in Saddleback. Next is Calvary Chapel, the only other 3-0 team in league. The Mustangs and Calvary Chapel have a first-place showdown at Jim Scott Stadium on Friday.

Costa Mesa Coach Wally Grant is glad the battle will take place under the lights. He wasn't too happy with having to play Saddleback on a Saturday afternoon.

"Horrible, flat out horrible," Grant said after his team played its first Saturday afternoon game of the year. "[Playing on Saturday afternoon] is what college football is about. High school football is Friday night lights.

"I was pleased with how we adjusted to this Saturday afternoon."

Grant's team rose early and ate pancakes and eggs at 9 a.m., four hours before the game. Right after kickoff, the Mustangs flattened a winless team and forced its quarterback to scramble.

Costa Mesa (5-3 overall) wasted little time in handing the host team its eighth setback of the year. The victory is the Mustangs' fourth in a row and their second in which they have posted at least 54 points in league.

As it usually does, Costa Mesa relied on tailback Oronde Crenshaw and the offensive line, left tackle Adam JeyaRajah, left guard Edgar Molina, center Kirby Herrera, right guard Marco Zalpa and right tackle Neru Fesili, and tight ends Joseph Quiroz and Corbin Pritchard. Crenshaw rushed 21 times for 266 yards and three touchdowns. The performance marked his third straight above 200 yards. The senior has 10 touchdowns on the ground during the stretch.

On the Mustangs' first score, coming after stopping Saddleback on downs, they went to someone other than Crenshaw. He did have daylight in front of him. Then a defensive back caught Crenshaw from behind, tripping him up on the two.

Crenshaw's run went for 62 yards. The Mustangs then ran a reverse for Quinton Bell, who easily found the end zone from two yards out. Bell played for the first time since he suffered a partially collapsed lung in the league opener against Estancia on Oct. 11.

Bell also caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Oliver Ferris early in the second quarter. Ferris turned in his best game of the year, throwing for three touchdowns. He completed six of nine passes for 153 yards, topping 150 yards for the second consecutive game.

Each of Ferris' touchdowns came early in the second, third and fourth quarters. He hooked up with wide receiver Jonathan Dmitruk on a 54-yard score in the third and Quiroz on a 19-yard score in the fourth.

The announcer called Ferris and his touchdown recipients by their last name first, then by their first name. He struggled with the names all afternoon, just as the Roadrunners did with turnovers.

In the first three quarters, Saddleback turned the ball over on downs twice, lost a fumble that Zalpa, a lineman, recovered and threw two passes that Crenshaw and defensive back Daniel Lawrence intercepted. All of the mistakes led to Costa Mesa touchdowns, allowing it to win by its largest margin of the year.

Crenshaw returned his pick 72 yards for a touchdown three minutes into the second quarter. The announcer figured out to say Crenshaw's name correctly. Crenshaw's workload in the first half — 201 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries — helped the announcer out. To the visitors, "Oronde Crenshaw" was music to the ears, compared to "Crenshaw Oronde."

What else would sound great to the Mustangs is if they can remain undefeated in league and claim their first league title in five years. They have a chance with two league contests left.

The Mustangs first play host to Calvary Chapel, which is 7-1 overall and ranked No. 8 in the Southern Division. Calvary Chapel outlasted defending league champion Laguna Beach, 62-56, in overtime at Jim Scott Stadium on Thursday night.

Grant went to the game, which produced 118 points, the ninth most in CIF Southern Section history.

"I was part of a game [as an assistant at Tustin] in '97 that was a heck of game, with DeShaun [Foster] and Carson [Palmer] in the CIF [Southern Section Division V] finals that was an offensive fireworks show," Grant said of the contest Santa Margarita won, 55-42. "But, you know, when you go 56-56 after four [quarters like Calvary Chapel and Laguna Beach did], you know, that's pretty special in itself. That was a fun game to watch. Glad I wasn't coaching it."

Costa Mesa 54, Saddleback 12


Costa Mesa 14 – 20 – 14 – 6 – 54

Saddleback 0 – 6 – 6 – 0 – 12


CM – Bell 2 run (Curet kick), 6:49.

CM – Crenshaw 6 run (Curet kick), 2:40.


CM – Bell 20 pass from Ferris (kick failed), 11:20.

CM – Crenshaw 72 interception return (Curet kick), 9:08.

CM – Crenshaw 7 run (Curet kick), :52.

SB – Reyes 8 pass from Franks (kick failed), :06.


CM – Dmitruk 54 pass from Ferris (Curet kick), 10:51.

SB – Franks 1 run (pass failed), 5:16.

CM – Crenshaw 27 run (Curet kick), 4:15.


CM – Quiroz 19 pass from Ferris (kick failed), 11:53.


CM – Crenshaw, 21-266, 3 TDs.

SB – Soto, 27-88.


CM – Ferris, 6-9-0, 153, 3 TDs.

SB – Franks, 9-14-1, 124, 1 TD.


CM – Dmitruk, 1-54, 1 TD; Bell, 2-50, 1 TD.

SB – Reyes, 5-65, 1 TD.

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