SANTA ANA — For the second week in a row, the Costa Mesa High football team suffered a devastating loss in Orange Coast League play.
The first one was a Battle for the Bell loss to rival Estancia last week. This one may have hurt even more.
Two Costa Mesa players sat on the field, looking somewhat dazed, for a while after the final whistle on Friday night at Segerstrom High. For the first time since joining the Orange Coast League in 2006, the Mustangs are 0-2 in league.
A wide-open Godinez senior Brian Hernandez caught a nine-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Zachary Huizar with 40 seconds left in the game, as the Grizzlies rallied for a 23-21 victory.
Hernandez had a similar play in the third quarter, where Huizar rolled out and found him wide open. That one was called back because of a false start.
The second one counted for the Grizzlies (3-4, 2-0 in league), and it stunned the Mustangs (2-5, 0-2).
"I just ran out and he threw it to me and I caught it," said Hernandez, adding that the play is not necessarily a common one utilized by the Grizzlies. "It feels good to finally turn things around ... They just threw me in there and told me to run it out, and that's what I did. It was there."
Costa Mesa had bad omens from the opening kickoff. The Mustangs never moved toward the kickoff after the ball bounced at the five-yard line, and Godinez recovered. The miscommunication hurt the Mustangs. A play later, Grizzlies running back Ruben Rojas ran it in, and Mesa was in an early hole.
The Mustangs seemed to find their groove in the second quarter. That was when they scored all three of their touchdowns, two of them on the ground by junior fullback Oronde Crenshaw. The third came when senior quarterback Noah JeyaRajah found receiver Markiece Traylor on an 85-yard touchdown pass, which gave the Mustangs a 21-14 lead with 1:07 remaining in the half.
But Costa Mesa would not score again.
"It was a poor job by me of getting my kids ready to play a big game," Costa Mesa Coach Wally Grant said. "We did some horrible things in special teams two weeks in a row, and I don't have to look any further than in the mirror. I didn't do a good enough job last week and let a kid [Estancia senior Ben Beck] take one back on me, and tonight we open the game up and don't catch a ball in the air. That's bad coaching and that's on me. I will make amends for that.
"Outside of that, you've got to give Godinez some credit. They came out and stuffed us in the second half. We were moving the ball at the end of the first half, we had this game in control, and they came out and beat us up and were more physical. We need to shake their hand, and we need to go back and get bigger, faster and stronger and see what we can do."
It was a sloppy game all around by the Mustangs, who committed 11 penalties for 100 yards. Godinez committed just two penalties for 10 yards.
After Hernandez's touchdown, Costa Mesa had one last chance. But after two runs, a pass was thrown into double coverage. Godinez's Pedro Leon intercepted it with 10 seconds left.
The Grizzlies are 2-0 in league for the first time since starting varsity football in 2008, and tied for first with Laguna Beach. Costa Mesa is now in a hole, in danger of missing the CIF Southern Section Southern Division playoffs.
"We have to run the table, and that's what it's going to take," Grant said. "My kids know it. We have three games left, and we have to win all three. We still control our own destiny."
Orange Coast League