Ending 14 years of frustration, Dana Hills defeated Mission Viejo, 28-14, Friday in front of 3,300 at Mission Viejo High School.
Dana Hills used an opportunistic defense and took advantage of good second-half field position to rally from a 14-7 deficit and defeat Mission Viejo for the first time since 1976.
Don Douglass, in his 10th season as Dana Hills coach, had never experienced a victory against the Diablos, so he was in a good position to assess how important it was.
“It’s awful hard (to describe),” Douglass said. “I suppose it would have to be one of the biggest wins. As I said, every week they seem to get bigger.
“Hopefully, that will continue.”
One thing is certain, the victory moved the Dolphins (5-2-1, 2-1 in league) into second place in the South Coast League and knocked Mission Viejo (5-2, 1-2), once the No. 1 team in Orange County, onto shaky ground with games looming against El Toro and Capistrano Valley in the next two weeks.
Mission Viejo, which was celebrating its 25th anniversary homecoming, appeared to have enough firepower to win this one. Quarterback Payson LeMeilleur, who sat out a 31-14 victory over San Clemente last week because of a sprained ankle, threw two first-quarter touchdown passes to Anthony Ramirez.
The first, a 70-yarder, tied the score, 7-7, and the second, on the first play of the Diablos’ next possession, went for 55 yards and a 14-7 lead.
LeMeilleur had passed for 192 yards by halftime and Ramirez had caught three passes for 129 yards.
But the Dana Hills’ defense stiffened in the second half and LeMeilleur only completed two more passes before being knocked out of the game late in the fourth quarter.
The Dolphins’ defense, which scored the only Dana Hills first-half touchdown, provided the offense the ball on the Mission Viejo 46 after a punt midway through the third quarter.
From there, the offense sustained its first drive and Marcus Jenkins scored on a two-yard run to tie the score, 14-14.
With good field position--the 50--on its next possession, Dana Hills scored when tight end Roger Hein caught a 20-yard pass from Scott Covington.
After an interception by Jeremy Buck, Jenkins, who rushed for 75 yards in 24 carries, scored on a five-yard run.