On paper it shouldn't have been close. Through three quarters, it was.
Capistrano Valley came on strong in the fourth quarter, scoring touchdowns on four of their final five possessions to blow past Mission Viejo, 46-13, Friday at Capistrano Valley High.
"We made a lot of mistakes," Cougars Coach Dave Brown said. "But I thought the kids really responded well in the third quarter."
Capistrano Valley (7-1, 3-0), ranked third in the county, might have been looking past the winless Diablos (0-8, 0-3).
Next week the South Coast League title could be decided when the Cougars meet Mater Dei.
Defense and penalties kept the Diablos in the game through the first half.
Shawn Watson stole the ball from a Cougar receiver and scored from 45 yards, cutting the Cougar lead to 9-7 in the second quarter.
Though the Cougars outgained Mission Viejo, 234-37, an interception in the end zone and two penalties on long runs by Malaefou MacKenzie kept it respectable, 20-7.
A 61-yard touchdown run by the Diablos' Jahmal Gillespie to open the second half made the score 20-13.
But the Diablos could get no closer as the Cougars intercepted three of sophomore quarterback Jeff Brooks's passes.
Mike Andriany had two of them off Brooks, who was making his second start.
The Cougars led in total yardage, 414-201. MacKenzie finished with 234 yards in 21 carries.