Mission Viejo football dominates Servite to win CIF-SS Division 2 championship – Orange County Register

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MISSION VIEJO — Mission Viejo and Servite each carried comeback stories into Saturday’s CIF-SS Division 2 championship football game.

Only one could complete the narrative as the titleholder.

A swarming defense and well-executed trick play helped the Diablos confidently extend their late-season surge.

Mission Viejo slowed sizzling running back Quaid Carr and scored on a fake field goal en route to a 34-15 victory before an estimated overflow crowd of 9,000 at Mission Viejo High.

Sophomore quarterback Luke Fahey added three touchdown passes, including two to sophomore wide receiver Vance Spafford.

The Diablos (11-3) claimed their first section title since 2015 after finishing second to rival San Clemente in the South Coast League. The loss to the Tritons on Oct. 13 dropped Mission Viejo into Division 2 for the first time since 2015 and supplied a much-needed wake-up call for the team, Diablos coach Chad Johnson said.

Mission Viejo’s latest response was a dominating effort against Trinity League member Servite (8-6) for its eighth section title.

“It feels good just the way we battled back,” Mission Viejo linebacker Jack Matranga said. “(At) Mission Viejo, it’s all about the brothers. After the San Clemente game, we kind of had a real, heart-to-heart look at yourself in the mirror talk and know we’re good enough to get this done.”

Mission Viejo’s story isn’t over yet. The Diablos advances to next week’s CIF SoCal Regional playoffs with a chance to earn a spot in the state finals. The regional schedule will be announced Sunday.

The Diablos opened a 20-0 lead at intermission after scoring on a fake field goal with 4.4 seconds left in the second quarter.

Mission Viejo set up for a 21-yard field goal by Michael Salgado-Medina but the holder — Fahey — tossed a 5-yard touchdown pass to Matranga, who was playing tight end in the formation.

The trickery capped a stellar opening half by Mission Viejo.

The Diablos held Carr to 27 yards on 11 carries, setting the tone for their effort.

Mission Viejo also recorded four first-half sacks from a group that included Travis Anderson, Jackson Hamby, JD HIll and Titus Miller.

The Diablos kept the pressure on by opening the second half with an 80-yard scoring drive. Hinesward Lilomaiava capped the drive with a 2-yard run for an eye-popping 27-0 lead.

Mission Viejo’s defense intercepted two passes in the second half, including one by junior cornerback Dijon Lee Jr. early in the fourth quarter. Fahey capitalized with a 90-yard touchdown strike to Spafford for a 34-7 lead.

The Diablos scored first with a 44-yard touchdown pass from Fahey to Spafford to a take a 6-0 lead.

Servite snapped the shutout late in the third quarter on a 5-yard TD run Carr. The junior entered the finals with six consecutive 100-yard rushing games but Mission Viejo held him to 55 yards on 15 carries.

The Friars reached the final by rebounding from a 1-9 finish last season.

The nine-loss campaign was the worst in school history and marked the final season for Coach Troy Thomas. The Friars turned to alumnus Chris Reinert to navigate its comeback.

“Good season,” coach Reinert said. “(But) you got to finish the job. We were better than we performed tonight. It starts with me.”

Tight end Aidan O’Callaghan was a bright spot for Servite with eight catches for 110 yards.

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