There wasn't a lot of fanfare when Hilmar (Calif.) quarterback Nathan Costa committed to Oregon back in the summer but the Ducks are looking very smart now as the signal caller is having a huge season and showing he's one of the top quarterbacks in the West region.
Costa, 6-0, 195 pounds was an all-state underclass selection a year ago after throwing for 2,249 yards and 24 touchdowns and rushing for another 622 yards and six more scores. He missed the big NorCal Nike camp and was flying a bit under the radar despite early offers from Utah and Boise State.
Costa then took an unofficial visit to Oregon and when the Ducks offered a few weeks later, he jumped on the offer. With his ability to run and throw equally well, Costa is an ideal fit in Oregon's new spread offense. The quarterback may not have great size, but he does have a live arm, is very accurate and does a great job of making something happen when the initial play breaks down. We had a chance to check out Costa in action this past weekend and the signal caller put on an absolute show.
In one of the most exciting games of the year thus far, Costa helped Hilmar stay unbeaten at 7-0 by scoring on the last play of the game in the teams come from behind 34-33 win over Escalon, which was also 6-0 on the season.
Hilmar was down 33-28 but got the ball back with 2:28 left on the clock and starting from their own 17 yard line. After Costa ran for an 11-yard gain, Escalon was called for pass interference and the 15-yard penalty brought the ball up to the 38-yard line. The next three plays consisted of two Costa runs for 20 yards plus an 11-yard pass completion. Now the Yellowjackets' were set up at the Cougars' 30-yard line and the clock was ticking down with less than 60 seconds left.
On a third-and-two play from the 22, Costa again scrambled away from pressure for an 11-yard run, which put the ball on the 11 with 53 seconds left. Costa next passed for an 8-yard gain down to the three and ran for another yard down to the two. Another Costa run with 22 seconds left was stopped short of the end zone, but it did pick up a first down.
On the next play, Hilmar tried to pound it in with their fullback but were stuffed just behind the line of scrimmage and Hilmar called its last timeout with two seconds remaining.
"Nathan said he wanted the ball and after all that he'd done, who was I to say otherwise," said Hilmar coach Frank Marquez.
Costa went for the quarterback leap. His body was knocked backward, but he was able to reach with the ball and stretched his arm toward the goal line before going the other way. The ball was either right at the proverbial plane, barely broke it or perhaps didn't break it. One linesman quickly raised his arms, signaling touchdown. The other linesman on the opposite side of the field did not signal. As confusion reigned and players from both teams were celebrating a victory, the officials convened and after a few seconds went along with the initial call. Touchdown Hilmar and game over.
For the game, Costa finished with an amazing 35 carries for 264 yards and three touchdowns including runs of 55 and 57 yards. He also completed 20-27 passes for 220 yards and two more scores.
"This is one game he just took over," Marquez said. "He definitely deserves all the accolades he's been getting, no doubt about it."
Nathan Costa VideoClick On the year, Costa has rushed 115 times for 898 yards and 11 touchdowns. He has also completed 100-162 passes for 1,447 yards and 11 touchdowns. Costa has to be considered a serious candidate for state player of the year consideration and Duck fans should be excited that the former 'sleeper' is headed their way. Here to view this Link.