The Mission Viejo football team had a wonderful trip to the Tri-State area, one of those once-in-a-lifetime memory-makers. Then came the football game Saturday against the No. 1 team in the nation, Don Bosco Prep from Ramsey, N.J.
It might be a while before the Diablos shake that game loose from the memories, too.
That's because the Ironmen gave Mission Viejo something to remember with a 35-7 beating in an East-West showdown that matched the five-time defending state champion against one of the perennial powers of the Southern Section. It was the 36th consecutive victory for Don Bosco, and the 60th in 61 games.
Mission Viejo coach Bob Johnson said the result was mostly due to Don Bosco's effort, particularly on defense.
"They're very talented, as good as any team I've ever planned for," he said. "They have eight legit D-1 guys on defense. We knew it when we scheduled them. You can't take anything away from them. On defense, they have off-the-chart talent."
He said his team did have its chances, though, but missed on a halfback pass in which the receiver was behind the defense, and twice got inside the 20-yard line but came away empty. Also, he said, "we got a rash of injuries" including his fullback and center—on the second series—that also changed the dynamic.
"Not much went our way," he said. "We're better than the score. But I was real proud—the kids never stopped fighting."
Although in the game early, Mission Viejo (1-1) struggled on offense, but finally broke through in the fourth quarter with a 12-play drive that covered 80 yards, the last five on a nifty reception in traffic by Max Redfield.
Alex Bridgford passed for 198 yards, but the senior left-hander was under constant duress. He was sacked six times, once fumbling the ball out of bounds, and he was intercepted four times.
It was rough day throughout the Diablos lineup. They gained only 24 yards rushing, while giving up 221, the final 11 by Elijah Shumate with 1:30 remaining that made it 35-7.
John Wilkins carried 20 times for 141 yards and scored two one-yard touchdown runs, the first that gave Don Bosco (1-0) a 7-0 lead with 45 seconds left in the first quarter, the second that put the Diablos on ice, 28-0, with 3:46 left in the third.
Jabrill Peppers scored in-between, on runs of five and six yards.