Throughout it all, Osso appeared composed. It wasn’t easy watching the end.
The Breakers’ attempt to make it a two-point game with no time on the clock ended when the receiver dropped a would-be touchdown pass in the end zone.
Out went a league championship tie. Osso got a kiss from his wife, allowing him to stay cool.
Seeing his Mustangs put up a fight in the regular-season finale at Estancia helped, too.
“Normally in situations like this, our kids wilt,” Osso said. “They get down early and they just think, ‘Oh, nothing can happen [to turn it around].’
“They stayed with it and they rose to the occasion.”
The Mustangs battled back after going down, 22-0, in the opening quarter. In boxing, that’s a knockout.
This was for the ultimate prize, not like last year when Costa Mesa shared it with Estancia. Two opponents entering the game with identical records, winner takes home the hardware.
Osso guided Costa Mesa (5-5, 4-0 in league) to its third unbeaten outright league title in school history. It took him only three years as the head coach to accomplish the feat.
He was part of the previous outright league championship team in 2002, when he was an offensive coordinator under Coach Dave Perkins.
The Mustangs earned this crown after an impressive defensive performance in the final three quarters and an overpowering running game featuring two 100-yard performers in Antwon Byrd and Robbie Gemayel.
Laguna Beach (4-6, 3-1) had one workhorse. Zach Smith amassed a career-best 303 yards and three touchdowns on 34 carries.
The key was that the Mustangs only allowed Smith to score once in the second half. He gave the Breakers a 30-24 lead with 4:57 left on a one-yard touchdown.
The Mustangs rallied behind backup quarterback Brian Waldron to win their fifth straight game.
With 63 seconds left, Waldron scored the second of his fourth-quarter touchdowns, putting the Mustangs ahead, 38-30.