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, PAUL RODRIGUEZ, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Mission Viejo's Colin Schooler dives into the end zone in the fourth quarter to score one of his five touchdowns against Long Beach Poly on Friday.

Schooler powers Mission Viejo past Long Beach Poly

STAFF WRITER

MISSION VIEJO – He’s not primetime in the Deion Sanders sense.

Colin Schooler has a blue-collar feel to his game, a bring your lunch box to work type of player.

But in the biggest of moments, when a play needs to be made, no player has consistently produced more in crunch time like the Diablos two-way star.

Schooler broke a halftime tie with a 65-yard pick-six, added three second-half rushing touchdowns, giving him a total of five scores on the night, as No. 2 Mission Viejo knocked off Long Beach Poly, 42-14, in a nonleague showdown between Division 1 elites Friday evening at Mission Viejo High.

“He’s a stud,” Diablos coach Bob Johnson said. “He’s a great kid and a great leader. It means a ton to him – and it does to everybody – but he’s really a football player.”

The Diablos (4-0) scored 28 consecutive points in the second half to distance itself from a talented Jackrabbits (1-2) squad. Schooler accounted for all four of Mission Viejo’s second-half touchdowns, coming up with the momentum-swinging pick-six midway through the third quarter, before becoming the focal point of the ground game.

“It’s a great feeling right now,” said Schooler, who racked up 66 yards rushing on 13 carries. “We started off really good in the first quarter, but then had a couple lapses in the second. (Long Beach Poly) could have had momentum coming out in the second half. We stayed strong, made some good halftime adjustments and ran the ball really well.”

Mission Viejo jumped to an early 14-0 lead on the opening two possessions, cashing in on seven Long Beach Poly penalties in the first quarter, which included two personal-foul penalties and a pass interference call.

Schooler capped a five-play, 59-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown plunge. Matthew McDonald doubled the lead minutes later when he scrambled and dove across the goal line on a 5-yard run that completed a 36-yard drive.

A McDonald interception on Mission Viejo’s third possession gave the Poly sideline new life, and set up Aaron Shampklin’s 11-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter.

Poly knotted the score at 14-14 on the final play of the first half when Nolan McDonald chucked up an 8-yard touchdown pass that Camren McDonald came down with amidst a group of black Diablos jerseys.

“I liked everything except the second quarter,” Johnson said. “Hats off to them for battling back, down by two touchdowns. Real proud of the kids. We challenged them at halftime, and they came out and played real well.”

With Poly driving and looking to grab its first lead of the game early in second half, Schooler dropped back into coverage and grabbed Nolan McDonald’s throw over the middle of the field, which he returned 65 yards in the opposite direction.

Contact the writer: kconnolly@scng.com


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