Amid the postgame celebration after leading Mission Viejo to a CIF championship Saturday afternoon, all junior quarterback Brock Johnson wanted to do was talk about his family — not his own but the one his team has become.
Indeed, after dropping their first two games, the Diablos bonded throughout the season, which culminated in a decisive 21-10 victory over Vista Murrieta at Angel Stadium in Anaheim. Johnson completed nine of 11 passes for 134 yards, one interception and a pair of touchdowns to Connor Hill as Mission Viejo won its first West Valley Division title and sixth section crown.
"I'm just so happy we got this done," said Johnson, the son of offensive coordinator Bret Johnson, the nephew of assistant coach Rob Johnson and the grandson of head coach Bob Johnson. "It's all about the team, and we have great coaching."
Brock Johnson wasn't the only one singing his coaches' praises.
"I love Coach Johnson," said 6-foot-3, 270-pound senior center Cole Smith, who has committed to USC. "I could talk about him for hours and hours. I love his style. He's intense but not too intense."
After a scoreless first quarter, the Diablos struck first on a 14-yard touchdown run early in the second by Rome Innocenzi, who finished with 134 yards in 27 carries to surpass 1,000 yards rushing this season.
Jared Gallegos got Vista Murrieta on the board with a 31-yard field goal to make it 7-3 midway through the quarter, but Brock Johnson threw a 36-yard pass to Hill to make it 14-3 with 1:11 left in the first half.
"Connor's one of my best friends," Johnson said of Hill, who finished with three receptions for 72 yards. "One of the things he's best at is yardage after the catch and getting away from defenders."
Hill caught a 28-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter to give the Diablos (12-2) a commanding 21-3 lead.
"We pounded the rock with Rome, and that opened things up in the passing game," Hill said. "Give credit to the linemen, because without them we wouldn't be holding this championship."
Despite the prolific offenses on the field, the Diablos' defense ruled the day, containing dual-threat quarterback Kyle Williams, allowing Vista Murrieta only six first downs and keeping the Broncos (11-3) out of the end zone until late in the fourth quarter.
"From the line to my position, we made a lot of mistakes tonight," said Williams, who completed nine of 15 passes for 106 yards and was held to 37 yards in 15 carries. "We beat ourselves."
Vista Murrieta pulled to within 11 points when, on fourth down at the 10-yard line, Colin Baker took a reverse, rolled to his right and threw to Jamie Nunley in the right corner of the end zone. However, Mission Viejo recovered the ensuing onside kick and Innocenzi broke several tackles to pick up a first down that allowed the Diablos to run out the clock.
"Can't be sweeter — I'm like a kid in a candy store," Bob Johnson said. "Of course I'm proud of my grandson, he had a really good year, he's tough and he sees things really well, but everyone did their part, from the coaches to the players and our great fans. From Day One, no one worried about who's getting the credit. This is a special group."