Will Redanz, talking a mile a minute, didn't waste much time making his point after Mission Viejo beat Laguna Hills on Friday.
"You can talk about offense and defense all you want," said Redanz, a junior inside linebacker, "but look at the score. Seven-six. And it's special teams that did it."
Redanz, the kind of player often overlooked, played a critical role in Mission Viejo's 7-6 nonleague victory over visiting Laguna Hills.
He took an inside line on a point-after attempt, blocked the kick of Ryan Johnson, and provided Mission Viejo the opportunity to win if it could put together any kind of offense at all.
The Diablos did that, but only after keeping a drive alive when the punt team forced Jeff Fischer's fumble at the Laguna Hills 24-yard line.
Dan Bowling carried three times for 18 yards on the drive and quarterback Bob Young carried two times for six, including a sneak from the two for the score. Jesse Harmon converted the point-after for a 7-6 lead and the Diablos improved to 2-1 while Laguna Hills dropped to 1-2 in front of a crowd of about 3,500.
It was the first time since 1991 the schools have played, that game a lopsided shutout for the Diablos.
Neither team provided much to cheer about the first 35 minutes, then crammed a game's worth of action into the final 13 minutes.
Trailing, 7-6, Laguna Hills' Johnson just missed two field goals. The first, from the left side, was hooked wide right from 31 yards by the left-footed Johnson. The second, from the right side, barely missed from 27 yards.
"Basically, this was a nail biter," said Bowling, who finished with 82 yards in 22 carries. "After the fumbled punt, we realized this was our chance to capitalize.
"We were all trying to make plays. All of us were kind of on edge."
Especially after Laguna Hills broke the scoreless duel in the final minute of the third quarter on a 55-yard scoring pass to Jeff Fischer (six catches, 98 yards) from Brandon Champlin (14 of 24, 220 yards).
Champlin also connected on a 65-yard completion to set up the first field-goal attempt. The Hawks had first and 10 at the 15. Before the second field-goal attempt, they had fourth and one at the nine.
The Mission Viejo defense sacked Champlin six times.