June 15, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

PHOTOS: Mission Viejo takes control in first half and tops Servite for CIF Division 2 title

Mission Viejo players and coaches celebrate after winning the CIF Division 2 title Saturday. (Photos courtesy Mark Bausman, For OC Sports Zone).

The Mission Viejo High football team’s offense executed a near perfect game plan and the defense was dominating helping the Diablos cruise to a 34-15 victory over Servite for the CIF Division 2 championship Saturday night at Mission Viejo.

The No. 4 seeded Diablos (11-3), runner-up of the South Coast League, won their first CIF title since 2015.

Mission Viejo quarterback Luke Fahey threw three touchdown passes to lead the Diablos.

“We really prepared for this game and stuck to our game plan and executed it,” said Fahey, who shared the QB duties with teammate Draiden Trudeau. “We’ve been working hard since January and it’s amazing to be a champion.”

To see the slide show, click on the first photo:

Early in the game, following a short Servite punt, Mission Viejo promptly marched 55 yards in four plays for a touchdown on its opening drive of the game. Fahey tossed a 33-yard TD strike to Vance Spafford for the touchdown.

However, Mission Viejo missed the PAT and led 6-0. Spafford caught four passes for 144 yards and scored two touchdowns, including a 90-yard TD reception in the fourth quarter. The sophomore has amassed 1,428 receiving yards and 20 TD catches this season.  

Later in the opening quarter, the Diablos started again with excellent field position in Friars’ territory. Trudeau completed a 34-yard pass play to Phillip Bell to the four-yard line. On the next play, running back Davonte Curtis scored on a 4-yard run to give the Diablos a 13-0 lead with 11:36 remaining in the half.

Servite continued to struggle offensively. Mission Viejo’s front line applied heavy pressure, forcing quarterback Leo Hannan to constantly scramble. Hannan was sacked four times in the game. The Friars were held to under 100 yards of offense in the first half. 

Late in the half, following a short Servite punt, Mission Viejo was on the move again. With the ball on the five-yard line and under 10 seconds remaining in the half, the Diablos lined up for a field goal attempt. To the surprise of the standing-room only crowd, Mission Viejo faked the field goal.

Fahey took the snap (as the holder), rolled to his right and lofted a 5-yard touchdown pass to senior tight end Jack Matranga that extended Mission Viejo’s lead to 20-0 at the break. 

“When I was in the huddle, I knew the ball was coming to me and I said, ‘oh shoot,” said Matranga. “But the QB put it right there for me. It was my first touchdown since my freshman year.”

Diablos Coach Chad Johnson said he decided to go for the trick play after his ‘Philly Special” didn’t work moments before.

“I was mad when our Philly Special play didn’t work, the ball was there but we just didn’t get it done,” said Johnson. “So I decided I was going for the fake field goal. It was a short field goal and I didn’t think they would expect a fake.”

The late touchdown gave the Diablos extra momentum going into halftime. Mission Viejo continued its push as they took the second half kickoff and marched 80 yards in seven plays for a touchdown. Hinesward Lilomaiava barreled in from two yards to up the lead to 27-0. 

“We got great push off the line all night and it’s feels great to be a champion,” said Lilomaiava who rushed for 80 yards on 17 carries.

The Friars countered with their best drive of the game as they drove 80 yards in 11 plays to get on the board. Running back Quaid Carr capped the drive with a five-yard TD run, that trimmed the lead to 27-7 with 4:36 left in the third quarter. 

The Diablos added a fourth quarter touchdown and Servite reserve quarterback Camren Hughes raced 76 yards for a Friars touchdown to close out the scoring. 

The Mission Viejo defense, led by linebackers Jonavan Asuncion and Jackson Hamby, helped record four sacks and forced three turnovers.

“We won every facet of the game, offense, defense and special teams,” said Hamby. “We won the battle of the turnovers and that made the difference.”

“Each guy executed their assignments correctly and now we know how it feels to be a champion,” said Asuncion.

Servite made it first appearance in the finals since 2021. The No. 7 seeded Friars last won the CIF finals in 2010 when they defeated Mission Viejo. The Friars (8-6) were an at‐large team out of the Trinity League and beat two seeded teams in the bracket. The Diablos last won a CIF title in 2015 when they defeated Vista Murrieta.

Friars’ Coach Chris Reinert was gracious in defeat.

“They won he battle of the front line; we weren’t able to move the ball on offense,” said Reinert. “I was a little too aggressive early in the game going for it on a fourth and nine and we gave up too many explosive plays. They executed a very good game plan.”

Hannan completed 17 passes for 160 yards for Servite. He finished the season with 2419 yards and 14 TD passes. Carr’s TD run gave him 19 touchdowns for the season, along with 1,195 yards rushing. Friars linebacker Elijah Rincon recorded two sacks in the game. Cornerbacks Jeron Jones and Dijon Lee Jr. each pulled down a second half interception for the Diablos.

Servite defeated Valencia, Long Beach Poly and Serra to reach the finals while Mission Viejo defeated Palos Verdes, Oaks Christian and Murrieta Valley in the first three rounds of the playoffs.

Next up:

Mission Viejo hosts Granite Hills Friday at 7 p.m. in the 1-AA South Regional Bowl Game.

—Tom Connolly, For OC Sports Zone