Not too often does a football team open the season with three road games, but that is what Mira Costa faced this year.
Now 1-2 overall after those three contests, the Mustangs look to play in front of their fans for the first time against neighbor El Segundo tomorrow at Waller Stadium.
The Mustangs are coming off their first win of the season and no doubt would like to make it two in a row against the Eagles.
“El Segundo is a well-coached team that always come out ready to play, but we’re prepared and fired up for our first home game this season,” said Mira Costa’s Kian Towfighi. “The great win against Mayfair definitely gave us the confidence and energy we need to be successful in this upcoming game.”
The players said they are eager play on their own field. Last year Mira Costa finished 7-5 overall and beat El Segundo on the road 42-21.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun finally getting to play in front of our home crowd,” said Jackson Fischer. “I think coach (Ray) Lee and coach (Don) Morrow have a great game plan this week that will help us win. Also, I’m expecting big things from Sam (Whitney) at quarterback this week.”
El Segundo is 0-2 on the year. They opened with a loss, 31-13, at Peninsula. In their last game, which was their home opener a week ago against North Torrance, the Eagles came up short 28-13.
“This next upcoming game against El Segundo is going to be a great one because it’s our first home game and there is no better way to liven up our players than a home game,” said Diego Osterling-Tabatabaian. “I believe that with all the excitement of playing at home, we will work harder to get our second win in a row.”
There will be some friendly battles going on. Some of the players know each other or their families are friends.
“I don’t know anyone on the team, but I know it is a rivalry game and it is important for us to get a win and keep the momentum from last week,” Whitney said.
Last week they finally got the victory to get them started in the right direction with a 37-26 win on the road at Mayfair in Lakewood.
The Mustangs took at 13-0 lead in the first quarter and scored 21 more points in the second quarter to take a 34-13 lead at the half.
Mayfair dropped to 1-2 overall after the loss, the same as Mira Costa.
“The first win really reinforced all of our hard work had paid off in that game,” Osterling-Tabatabaian said. “Our offense was really able to drive the ball each time and our defense could truly hold their own.”
Each succeeding game, Mira Costa was closing the gap and finally got the score to tilt in their favor.
“I am getting more and more comfortable in the offense each week,” said Whitney, who came into the season learning to play at the varsity level. “I think it was important to get a win last week to boost everyone’s confidence heading into our last couple games before we start Bay League games.”
The offensive line play has been a big boost to the offense.
“Our offensive line had been a lot more confident since the Mayfair game and we’ve been doing well this week fine tuning some aspects of our run game up front,” said Mira Costa lineman Hank Dunlop.
The defensive line is getting better as well.
“El Segundo has a great offensive line and have been running the ball really well this season so far but our defensive line has been working hard and I think we’ll be able to curb their ground game and make them throw the ball more,” Dunlop said.
Dunlop believes their line play will continue to improve this week.
“El Segundo is always a well-coached team and I think it’ll be a good game and our win at Mayfair helped us gain some good momentum and helped us figure out a lot with our offensive line especially so I believe this Friday will go in our favor.”
The Mustangs started the season with a road game at Paramount. They trailed 20-0 after the first quarter and 27-7 at the half. Final score was 48-21.
The following week they went to St. Francis in La Canada and lost a close game 23-21. St. Francis scored all 23 of their points in the second quarter.
Asked if it was tough losing those first two games, Whitney had this to say, “Yes, we played two good teams and even though we lost those games I felt that as a team we improved a lot and that will help us throughout the rest of the season.”
“We had a slow start to the season but this win is going to provide us with the momentum we needed moving forward,” Fischer said. “The team is really coming together and I think we have big things coming for us in the near future.”