Mission Viejo win puts Johnson on brink of history


MISSION VIEJO – Bob Johnson’s defensive ideology doesn’t change much from game to game.

It’s rather straightforward and simple.

“Run to the ball and hit people,” the longtime Mission Viejo coach said.

The Diablos did both Friday night.

Mission Viejo forced three turnovers in the first half and scored 42 straight points en route to a 49-12 victory over Redondo Union in a nonleague meeting.

The Diablos (5-0), ranked No. 2 in Orange County and No. 4 in the CIF Division I poll, built a 35-0 halftime lead by converting all of those turnovers into scores.

“We did what we have to do,” Johnson said. “These kind of games get sloppy sometimes, but you can’t complain. We jumped on them pretty good early, and we got to play all of our kids.”

Johnson picked up his 320th career victory as a coach. He stands one win away from tying legendary Los Alamitos coach John Barnes as Orange County football’s all-time winningest coach.

Mission Viejo also pushed its winning streak to 33 games, outgaining the Sea Hawks (2-3) in first-half yardage, 199-68.

The Diablos collected three sacks and recovered two fumbles in the first two quarters, and Akili Arnold added a 35-yard interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter to push the lead to 28-0.

“I thought they were very aggressive,” Johnson said. “They did a great job during the week of studying different things, and I thought they did a terrific job of showing that tonight.”

Mission Viejo found the end zone on four of five first-half drives. Quarterback Matt McDonald tossed three touchdowns in the first two quarters.

The senior’s main target was Olaijah Griffin, who caught two touchdowns in the first half, including an impressive 11-yard, diving grab in the end zone on Mission Viejo’s opening drive. Griffin had 111 first-half receiving yards.

Colin Schooler had just three carries in the game for 64 yards (all coming in the opening quarter), but it was his final run of the first half that had a lasting impression. The powerful senior burst through a wide-open gap for a 44-yard score to give the Diablos a 14-0 advantage.

Backup quarterback Jake Reilly made the most of his playing time in the second half, tossing two touchdowns to Steven Munoz – one for 32 yards and another for 17.

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