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Mission Viejo Stops Santa Ana Cold : Defense Stands Tall as No. 1-Ranked Diablos Roll, 30-0

Times Staff Writer

Garner Hicks, Santa Ana’s standout tailback, couldn’t get through it. Jesse Rosas, the Saints’ quarterback, couldn’t see over it. And defensive end Oscar Wilson, their play-stopper, wilted under its pressure.

Yes, Mission Viejo High School and its mighty momentum rolled over another opponent Friday night, this time with a stifling 30-0 victory over Santa Ana at Mission Viejo High School.

For those 3,000 or so who came to watch, Mission Viejo, 4-0 and the county’s top-ranked team, put on a dazzling defensive show. The Diablos frustrated Santa Ana at every opportunity.

Of course, Mission Viejo’s offense fared well too, with junior quarterback Tim Snowden completing eight of 18 passes for 217 yards, a touchdown and an interception before being replaced by Don Disbro early in the third quarter. Mark Gaw led the Diablos ground game with 75 yards and two touchdowns, on runs of 28 and 1 yards.

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But it was Mission Viejo’s defense that gave its offense most of its opportunities, forcing seven fumbles, three of which led directly to touchdowns.

“We got our tail kicked,” a grim-looking Santa Ana Coach Dick Hill said. “You don’t make mistakes like that and expect to live.”

Or at least you don’t expect to gain any considerable ground as third-ranked Santa Ana (3-1) learned in the game’s opening minutes. Hicks, who prior to Friday had gained 457 yards in three games, was held to 49 yards on 20 carries and only three yards in the first half.

And Rosas, who entered the game with 303 yards and five touchdowns, saw his performance go to pieces thanks to the Diablo defense. Rosas, who completed four of 10 passes for 55 yards and an interception, was continually mauled and battered by Mission Viejo’s aggressive defensive line.

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For those Mission Viejo fans who starting yawning after they realized that their team, which in four games has outscored its opponents, 162-13, was on its way to another rout, the successive bloopers in the second quarter probably held their interest.

With Santa Ana trailing, 10-0, and on its own 8-yard line midway through the second quarter, Rosas dropped back to pass, saw no one open, and decided to toss a backwards pass to Hicks, who apparently didn’t realize Rosas’ intentions. The ball dropped in the end zone, and after some confusion, Mission Viejo cornerback J.J. Fortune fell on the ball for a touchdown, giving Mission Viejo a 17-0 lead.

“We were very opportunistic tonight,” Mission Viejo Coch Mike Rush said. “We took advantage of forcing the ball. It comes down to basics.

“The name of the game is smash ball on our side.”

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