Saturday, Dec. 11
SOUTHERN SECTION PLAYOFFS
Mission Viejo 49, Valencia 21
It was only appropriate, really. Mission Viejo took on the toughest competition it could find this season. Los Alamitos. Santa Ana Mater Dei. Long Beach Poly. Concord De La Salle.
By choice, the Diablos played four nonleague teams ranked in the state top 10 in the state.
On Saturday at Angel Stadium, Mission Viejo's final opponent - No. 7 Valencia came by assignment in the Southern Section Division II championship game. And it turned into an easy opponent one.
Top-seeded Mission Viejo completed its perfect season in resounding fashion, with a dominant performance in a 49-21 victory over Valencia for the Southern Section Division II title, its third Division II title in four years.
Mission Viejo (14-0), which was unbeaten and lost before losing last year's final to Newhall Hart, started the season at No. 1 in the
Southland and will finish it No. 1 in the state. As for mythical titles, the Diablos are still No. 2 nationally in the Student Sports ranking after Southlake (Texas) Carroll beat previously undefeated Lufkin, 37-30, in a state 5A Division II semifinal on Saturday at Baylor University.
"We definitely tried to come out and win big," said Moline, whose brother, Chase, is the only two-way starter for the Diablos. "We knew they couldn't go four quarters. They're small, we're smash mouth."
The smashed Vikings became another notch on the Diablo belt, an 11th team among 14 opponents that they scored on in either its with their first or second possession.
Any thoughts Valencia (12-2) - ranked fifth in the Southland - had of an upset had to be distant midway through the second quarter. Mission Viejo had gone up 21-0 and had yet to allow a team an opponent more than 21 points this season.
Mission Viejo, with too much balance for its opponents to handle this season, struck by land and air Saturday. Mark Sanchez passed for a 53-yard touchdown, Chane Mo- line ran for three scores - all before halftime. Moline finished with five touchdown runs, of one, three, 19, five and one yard.
By the time they finished - the reserves officially took over with 7 minutes 3 seconds remaining - the Diablo starters had piled on 431 yards and 49 points against a team whose only other loss was to the Southland's No. 2 team, Division III champion Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, 33-3. Although Notre Dame, too, was a phy- sical team, Valencia Coach Brian Stiman said there were other factors that played into that contest.
The only factor that played into this one was Mission Viejo. Sanchez completed 12 of 19 passes for 181 yards. Moline rushed 23 times for 115 yards. The defense finished with six sacks of Herrick, who passed for 350 yards, going over 4,000 in the season, and two touchdowns, giving him 33. He had 216 yards through three quarters and trailed, 42-7.
"The only way you can put it is they're an all-star team," Stiman said. "They're the best team I've seen in 24 years of coaching. We played Dana Hills, San Clemente teams from their league, and they didn't have any players like that.
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