Most Viewed Stories
Fired-up Mission Viejo cruises to victory
The No. 2 Diablos, missing three suspended starters and Madden, roll over Long Beach Poly, 37-7.
LONG BEACH - No. 2 Mission Viejo punished Long Beach Poly, which is not in the business of being on the receiving end of one-sided beatings, en route to a 37-7 nonleague victory on Friday night at Veterans Stadium.
Longtime Long Beach Poly fans must have felt like they were having a case of deja vu. The last time Mission Viejo and Long Beach Poly met was in 2004, and the Diablos pounded the Jackrabbits, 41-14.
FAN PHOTOS: Friday's OCVarsity Fandemonium slide show
GAME PHOTOS: Friday's OCVarsity Hot Shots slide show
The Diablos went on to a perfect season and a CIF-SS Division 2 championship. Mark Sanchez, who currently starts for the New York Jets, was the quarterback for that team.
The Diablos were playing without star linebacker Tre Madden, a USC recruit who fractured his foot last week. They were also down three starters — a receiver, kicker and punter — for violating team rules. Mission Viejo assistant Bret Johnson said the three missing starters had fulfilled their suspension and could have played against Long Beach Poly, but Coach Bob Johnson held them out.
The rest of the Diablos filled the void. Mission Viejo set the tone from the opening kickoff, marching 89 yards in eight plays, which were all on the ground. Dallas Kessman capped the drive by going untouched into the end zone.
"We had our best practice this week," Kessman said. "Everybody was really psyched for this. We came out fast. Our defense and offense both performed really well. We were lucky enough to come out on top."
Mission Viejo's massive offensive line, which is comprised of Colby Cyburt, Keenan Griffin, Jon King, Austin Maas and Kevin Carroll, had no problem imposing its will on Long Beach Poly, a team that has won 18 CIF-SS championships and produced more NFL players than any high school in the nation.
Kessman and Jahleel Pinner took turns running through gaping holes. Kessman finished with 140 yards and four TDs on 20 carries and Pinner had 120 yards and one TD on 19 carries.
"We were really excited for this," Kessman said. "Me and Pinner have been working really hard all week, and they gave us a lot of carries."
Even without Madden, the Diablos defense did a number on the Jackrabbits. Mission Viejo had four interceptions, including two by Max Redfield, recovered a fumble and blocked a punt.
The Diablos held Long Beach Poly to 15 rushing yards until Kameron White broke a 92-yard touchdown run on the Mission Viejo reserves with 36 seconds left in the game. The Jackrabbits were limited to 33 passing yards.
Long Beach Poly's first possession ended with Mission Viejo's Michael Small blocking a punt. That set up a 10-yard TD run by Pinner.
Mission Viejo put together a bruising 12-play, 79-yard scoring drive on its next possession. Kessman capped it with a 2-yard touchdown run. That give the Diablos a 20-0 lead at the half.
Long Beach Poly had the ball on offense to start the second half, but that ended quickly after a Doug Ruggles interception. Five plays later, Kessman scored on an 8-yard touchdown run to push the Diablos' lead to 27-0.
Kessman added a 6-yard touchdown run to make it 34-0 late in the third quarter.
Mission Viejo's Zachary Christensen, who was 4 of 5 on extra-point attempts, added a 25-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.
Mission Viejo, ranked No. 1 in the Pac-5, No. 2 in the county, No. 6 in the state and No. 39 in the nation, improved to 4-0. Long Beach Poly, ranked No. 7 in the Pac-5, dropped to 2-2.
Mission Viejo plays host to Carson next Friday.