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Mission Viejo wins 28th in a row and first state football title

Eric Sondheimer
Contact ReporterVarsity Times Insider

Ponchos and umbrellas were much in demand among the sparse crowd at Sacramento State on Friday night for the CIF state championship Division 1-AA bowl game between Mission Viejo and San Jose Bellarmine.

Neither rain nor Bellarmine's double-wing offense prevented Mission Viejo from ending its longest season in school history with a 16th consecutive victory and a first state championship in football.

From beginning to end, the Diablos (16-0) dominated in a 24-0 victory.

It was a triumph for the Johnson family. Coach Bob Johnson won his 330th career victory.

His grandson, Brock, the team's quarterback, guided the Diablos to a 28th consecutive win over two seasons.

"We really played well on both sides of the ball," Bob Johnson said. "I'm proud of our kids, proud of our school. We're a pretty resilient team."

Brock had touchdown passes of 13 yards to Olaijah Griffin and 40 yards to Austin Osborne in helping the Diablos open a 12-0 advantage at halftime.

Meanwhile, 6-foot-2, 210-pound junior running back Colin Schooler resembled a human battering ram while running over Bellarmine defenders. He finished with 224 yards rushing in 31 carries and scored two touchdowns.

The Diablos' offensive line wasn't too bad either.

Who said Southern California players can't handle wet conditions?

The rain became a mere drizzle in the second half but nothing seemed to work against Mission Viejo's players on defense. They gave a clinic on how to tackle and how to play the option game. From defensive tackle Carter Hartmann, bound for Harvard, to linebacker Bryce Chambers, the Diablos' defensive front seven formed a human fence that Bellarmine couldn't penetrate no matter how many fakes its offense made.

The Bells were limited to 51 yards total offense.

 

It has been a long season for Mission Viejo, which started the year playing in Hawaii on Aug. 21.

There was a close call against Rancho Santa Margarita Tesoro that resulted in a 39-33 victory for the Diablos.

And La Mesa Helix gave the Diablos a scare last week before falling, 32-28.

But through injuries and 16 weeks of challenges, the Diablos reached perfection.

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

Twitter: @LATSondheimer

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