Costa Mesa edges past Laguna Beach


LAGUNA BEACH - – After an exhausting fourth quarter that featured five turnovers, Costa Mesa squeaked out a 14-9 road win against Laguna Beach to open Orange Coast League play on Friday.

“We practice turnovers, change of possession,” Costa Mesa coach Glen Fisher said. “We practice all the scenarios that you’d see in a football game so it wasn’t strange to (us).”

The Mustangs (5-1, 1-0) took their 14-9 lead with 4:25 left in the game when tight end Mason Mataafa pounded it in from 1 yard out.

One play before that, Costa Mesa defensive end Angel Valle snagged Laguna Beach running back George Cracknell’s fumble out of midair at the Breakers’ 27-yard line and returned it 26 yards to the 1.

“(The team) loves (Valle),” Fisher said. “There was not a happier group of kids than our kids on the sideline for Angel.”

Laguna Beach (2-4, 0-1) had taken its first lead of the game with 8:02 left in the fourth quarter when quarterback Jack Simon ran it in from 2 yards out to make it 9-8.

Neither team had success on offense in the first quarter. The Breakers gained just 11 yards, and Costa Mesa fumbled in Laguna Beach territory on its only promising drive.

The Mustangs scored first with 3:26 left in the second quarter. Running back Jonathan Brucales broke through a couple tackles for a 13-yard score after netting 17 yards on three other runs during the drive.

The Breakers answered on their next possession when Cracknell kicked a 22-yard field goal with 18 seconds left in the half.

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