Never in Coach Don Morrow’s 25-year tenure has Mira Costa boasted a smaller offensive line.
All season long, the undersized Mustangs scratched and clawed and produced a second-place Bay League finish. But Morrow acknowledged the girth of opening playoff opponent Long Beach Wilson had him apprehensive.
“It’s about survival,” Morrow said. “These are our guys. We’ve had some Macedonians in the past, but now we have 180-pound linemen.
“But what we do have are guys who have incredible fight and who show up.”
Mira Costa (7-4) stepped up and delivered a 41-20 victory over Long Beach Wilson (6-5) in the opening round of the CIF Southern Section Division 6 playoffs on Friday, advancing to host top-seeded South Hills (11-0) in next week’s quarterfinals.
Quarterback Nick Carpino threw four touchdown passes – each to a different receiver, and the Mira Costa defense recovered four Long Beach Wilson fumbles.
Yet it was the Mira Costa offensive line that stood tall, with JB Revell (5-foot-9, 180 pounds), Jordan Corral (5-11, 195), Bobby Millea (6-1, 200), A.J. Oshode (5-11, 250), Tomy Underraga (6-0, 210) and Charley Rumpp (6-1, 220) stepping up against a Long Beach Wilson defensive line that averaged 6-foot-3, 255 pounds.
Undersized, but not to be underestimated.
“We believed in ourselves, and we focused on aspects that bigger guys can’t do,” said Revell, a sophomore center. “We used our speed and strength, we got low and we did it.”
Richard Kick enjoyed a banner day for Mira Costa, recovering a fumble and catching an 11-yard touchdown pass from Carpino to help build a 27-14 halftime lead and then delivering a backbreaking 35-yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
“I just read the play, caught the ball and ran into the end zone – not much to it,” Kick said.
“Then you had to celebrate and get a 15-yard penalty,” Carpino added, laughing.
Carpino was certainly in a celebratory mood and made sure to spread the ball around as much as possible.
Carpino completed 15 of 27 passes for 191 yards, the four touchdowns and one interception.
Carpino hit Matt Harry for a 15-yard touchdown for a 7-0 lead. His 11-yard touchdown pass to Kick pushed the lead to 21-7 in the second quarter. Carpino lofted a 2-yard touchdown pass to Eddie Burga-Donovan with 20.5 seconds left in the first half.
Then after Wilson cut the margin to 27-20, Carpino connected with Brody McKinnon on a 24-yard touchdown pass for a 34-20 lead with 10:20 left.
Running back Koda Thormodsgaard added a 2-yard scoring run.
“Most of those guys were seniors, and it was fun to get them the ball,” Carpino said. “I had time back there, and they had time to get open. Four different receivers scoring – that’s a great team win.”
Marcos Nottingham led Wilson with 156 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries. Ryan Pettway threw for 135 yards and a touchdown and added 70 rushing yards.
Now Mira Costa gets another opportunity to take on top seed South Hills, which recorded a 50-20 nonleague victory over Mira Costa on Sept. 21.
“They got us pretty good, and they’re a good team. They’re 11-0 for a reason,” Morrow said. “We’ll see what happens next week.”