By Barry Faulkner
11:39 PM PDT, October 19, 2012
COSTA MESA — The Costa Mesa High football team entered Friday's Orange Coast League contest against Saddleback in a three-game tailspin on the verge of being eliminated a berth into the CIF Southern Section Southern Division playoffs.
The Mustangs were obviously ready to change things up.
The result was seven touchdowns and a field goal on Costa Mesa's eight offensive possessions to run away for a 58-12 triumph at Jim Scott Stadium.
Junior tailback Oronde Crenshaw rushed for 266 yards and four touchdowns to lead the onslaught, which included a pair of touchdown passes from senior quarterback Noah JeyaRajah.
Costa Mesa, which thumped the Roadrunners, 61-0, last season, improved to 3-5, 1-2 in league.
Saddleback, which posted its first league win in 27 games dating back to 2006 last week, fell to 3-5, 1-2.
Costa Mesa took very few missteps, intercepting two Saddleback passes and commanding the running and passing lanes on offense.
The Mustangs did not punt and averaged nearly 64 yards on their seven touchdown drives.
Crenshaw, who had shared rushing chores with senior Justin Smith, produced scoring runs of 61, 20, 15 and nine yards, while also breaking off a 55-yarder to set up a touchdown on the third play of the second half.
JeyaRajah, who also gashed the Roadrunners on a 16-yard sneak for a touchdown late in the first quarter, connected on a 59-yard scoring pass to Markiece Traylor to cap the hosts' third possession. JeyaRajah lofted another accurate scoring strike of 30 yards to Daniel Lawrence late in the first half.
Jake Lux, who booted a 46-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter, converted six of seven PATs, with the lone exception being blocked.
Senior running back Erick Diaz capped the Mustangs' scoring barrage with a 64-yard sprint on Costa Mesa's final offensive play with 5:37 left in the game.
The lopsided lead initiated a running clock in the final period, as the Roadrunners' coaches yelled to the timer atop the stands on the opposite side of the field to insure time ticked away on a discouraging setback.
Quinten Bell and Traylor had interceptions for the Mustangs, who also took over by stopping a fake field-goal attempt and once halting a fourth-down running play for a three-yard loss.
No fewer than 10 Costa Mesa defenders made tackles at or behind the line of scrimmage as the Roadrunners managed just four plays of more than 10 yards, including a late 68-yard scoring run against backups.
Despite operating behind a makeshift offensive line that averaged just 5-foot-9, 212 pounds from tackle to tackle, Costa Mesa rolled to 403 rushing yards and 508 yards of offense.
That line included tackles Marco Zalpa and Alan Obregon, guards Oscar Reyes and Erick Bernal, as well as center Rudy Aguirre.
JeyaRajah completed five of seven passes for 105 yards, all in the first half.
Crenshaw was shut down for the night after scoring with 3:31 left in the third quarter. He upped his season rushing total to 780 yards, while also helping to anchor a defense that included big plays from JeyaRajah, Zalpa, Smith, Reyes, Kurt Williams, Kyle Barnett, Will Padilla and Diaz.
The 58 points is only the fourth-best output under second-year Coach Wally Grant, whose team set a school single-season scoring record in 2011 with 454 points.
The Mustangs are tied with Saddleback for fourth place in league, one game behind second-place Estancia and Godinez with just two games to play. The Mustangs must win out to have a chance at one of the league's three guaranteed playoff berths.
Should Mesa finish tied with either Estancia or Godinez, the head-to-head results would render Mesa a loser in a tiebreaker scenario. It was hard to imagine Mesa as anything but a victor Friday.
Costa Mesa 58, Saddleback 12
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Saddleback 0 – 6 – 0 – 6 — 12
Costa Mesa 14 –20 – 14 – 10 — 58
CM – Crenshaw 61 run (Lux kick), 6:57.
CM – JeyaRajah 16 run (Lux kick), 0:48.
CM – Traylor 59 pass from JeyaRajah (Lux kick), 9:33.
CM – Crenshaw 15 run (kick blocked), 7:33.
Sad – Arvezu 9 run (kick failed), 4:19.
CM – Lawrence 30 pass from JeyaRajah (Lux kick), 2:02.
CM – Crenshaw 9 run (Lux kick), 10:42.
CM – Crenshaw 20 run (Lux kick), 3:31.
CM – Lux 46 FG, 10:32.
Sad – Salcido 68 run (pass failed), 6:49.
CM – Diaz 68 run (Lux kick), 5:37.
Sad – Salcido, 4-71, 1 TD.
CM – Crenshaw, 23-266, 4 TDs; Diaz, 1-64, 1 TD; JeyaRajah, 4-50, 1 TD.
Sad – Toussant, 3-5-0, 18.
CM – JeyaRajah, 5-7-0, 105, 2 TDs.
Sad – Salcido, 2-11.
CM – Traylor, 2-70, 1 TD.