Orange County Prep Football : Mission Viejo, Keying on Lee, Falls to Tuioti-Led Santa Ana, 28-7

Times Staff Writer

Mission Viejo High School, lying in wait for running back Robert Lee, watched the rest of the Santa Ana offense pound on by Friday night, as Santa Ana defeated the Diablos, 28-7, in front of 3,500 at Mission Viejo.

Defensively, the Diablos simply wanted to key on Lee’s every move, follow him wherever he went and hoped they could get enough people to him when he did get the ball.

“One guy doesn’t stop Robert Lee,” Bill Crow, Mission Viejo coach said Tuesday. “You get as many guys to him, hope they can jump on and bring him down.”


Mission Viejo did just that on Lee’s first carry of the game, with a number of Diablo defenders stopping Lee for a one-yard gain. A roar went up from the Mission Viejo side, it seems everyone knew the key to this game.

But the story of this game came on the next play when quarterback George Tuioti faked a handoff to Lee, freezing the Mission Viejo defense, and completed a 13-yard pass to a wide open Rob Fanti.

Six plays plater, the Saints were on the Mission Viejo 27. Tuioti faked a dive play to Lee, which most of the Mission Viejo defense fell for, then gave the ball to Donovan Mauga sweeping around the right side. Mauga ran 27 yards for the score. Give the assist to Lee. Enio Blanco’s conversion kick gave the Saints a 7-0 lead with 6:58 left in the first quarter.

“I think they became so concerned with stopping Robert that they forgot to do some other things,” said Dick Hill, Santa Ana coach.

Mission Viejo had a promising, six-play drive stopped when running back Eric Ekdahl fumbled after gaining 25 yards to the Saints’ five. Defensive end Oscar Wilson picked up the fumble and ran it back to the 18.

From there started a 16-play Santa Ana drive that ended when Tuioti faked to Lee and threw to a once again wide open Fanti in the end zone. The scoring play went for nine yards and Blanco’s kick gave the Saints a 14-0 with 8:08 left in the second quarter.


Fanti caught 6 passes for 70 yards.

“Every team wants to stop Robert Lee, and that leaves things open for me,” Fanti said.

Santa Ana scored again in the first half when Tuioti, who completed 8 of 15 passes for 134 yards, threw a pass to Royal Wilbon at the Mission Viejo 15. Wilbon, perhaps the fastest football player in the county, went down the sideline and by the time he got to the five he was carrying three Diablo defenders.

“I felt like Eric Dickerson,” Wilbon said.

Looked like him, too, as Wilbon carried the excess weight into the end zone.

Mission Viejo did do a relatively good job against Lee. Relatively. Lee, who averaged 200 yards a game in his last seven last season, rushed for 111 yards in 23 carries. He scored on a three-yard run with 2:25 left in the game for the game’s final touchdown.

Mission Viejo’s lone score came when running back Jay Williams dived into the end zone from the one. Williams’ score, with 15 seconds left in the third quarter, completed a 13-play drive.