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Prep Football : Kopp Leads Mission Viejo Air Attack

Times Staff Writer

If you like to see footballs fill the sky, then Friday night’s game between Mission Viejo and Westminster high schools was your cup of tea. The two quarterbacks involved--Troy Kopp of Mission Viejo and John Shipp of Westminster--attempted 44 passes.

But if you hate to see yellow flags up there with the footballs, then Mission Viejo’s 39-6 rout at Westminster (1-4) wouldn’t have thrilled you.

Kopp connected on 14 of 22 passes for a career-high 318 yards to lead the Diablos (5-0), the county’s top-ranked team. He also bolstered his reputation as the next standout quarterback to emerge from the South Coast League.

Kopp would have passed for more than 400 yards if Mission Viejo hadn’t been penalized 10 times and spent most of the second quarter giving up yards and downs.

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As it was, Kopp had to settle for 3 touchdown passes, which gives him 11 for the season. Two of them--first-quarter touchdown strikes of 63 and 68 yards--were rainbows to Kopp’s favorite target, all-purpose back Eric Ekdahl. Ekdahl would have had his third touchdown catch in the second quarter, but--you guessed it--the play was squelched by a Diablo penalty.

Nonetheless, Kopp dominated the first half. He threw on the run, over the middle, along the sideline and into the flat. He threw overhand and threw sidearm. He completed two passes while in the wraps of Westminster tacklers--and one of those was a sidearm strike to tight end Damon Williams from 18 yards out for his third touchdown.

The only low points for Kopp were the two passes that the Lions picked off--the only times Kopp has been intercepted this season.

“Troy got really good pass protection and our receivers did a wonderful job running patterns and catching the ball,” Mission Viejo Coach Mike Rush said. “The offensive line did an outstanding job.”

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Shipp didn’t have it so lucky. He attempted 22 passes but completed only 7, and he spent most of the night running from Mission Viejo’s defense.


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