Column: QB Peter Costelli is staying, making Mission Viejo very happy

Mission Viejo quarterback Peter Costelli poses before the first day of conditioning earlier this week.
(Gabriella Angotti-Jones / Los Angeles Times)

Mission Viejo football fans have experienced a range of emotions in recent weeks surrounding the status of quarterback Peter Costelli.

In normal times, the 6-foot-3 senior with sprinter speed would be spending Friday nights this fall showing everyone why he earned a scholarship to Utah. After the CIF decided in July to delay the season until January because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mission Viejo coach Chad Johnson made plans to play without Costelli, who was scheduled to graduate early and enroll at Utah.

Everything changed again when the Pac-12 canceled its fall season two weeks ago. Now Costelli intends to play for the Diablos and spend the year with his classmates.


“The plan was if colleges played in the fall, I would graduate early. If not, I’d play high school,” Costelli said. “I was a little disappointed. I was looking forward to getting there early. But also relieved. I get to play my senior year with my teammates.”

By sticking with the Diablos, Costelli has the chance to be the most exciting quarterback in Southern California. He ran 100 meters in 10.82 seconds in 2019. There’s no telling how fast he might have run last spring if the track season hadn’t been canceled.

“I was hoping for 10.6,” he said.

VIDEO | 00:26
Mission Viejo QB Peter Costelli highlights

The Utah-bound quarterback won’t be leaving high school early

Combine his ability to run with the fact he passed for 1,992 yards and 24 touchdowns as a junior and it makes Costelli an offensive weapon waiting to be unleashed in 2021.

The first step toward preparing for 2021 was taken Monday when Mission Viejo resumed conditioning workouts approved by state and local health departments.

Costelli isn’t quite ready to run a sub-11-second 100 meters but give him time.

“I have to get back into shape,” he said.

His first game is set for Jan. 8 against Anaheim Servite in a rematch of last year’s Division 1 playoff game won by Mission Viejo 38-35. Back for Servite is junior quarterback Noah Fifita. The quarterback matchup alone is so good it’s certain to be a televised game.

Johnson was getting ready to have two young quarterbacks engage in a competition to be the varsity starter. Now they’ll get another season to work with Costelli, learn and prepare.

The zone read is back in the Mission Viejo offense. That’s the run-option play where the quarterback reads what the defensive end is going to do and decides whether to get rid of the ball or keep it. With Costelli’s straight-away speed, defensive ends better make some good decisions. The Diablos were 11-1 last season while Costelli was learning the system after moving over from Santa Margarita.

Johnson has coached some good quarterbacks through the years, from his days at Bellflower St. John Bosco as the offensive coordinator and now at Mission Viejo. Costeilli has the foot speed to remind some of Re-al Mitchell, who helped the Braves win a CIF title.


“Peter is just as fast straight ahead, but Re-al’s quickness and elusiveness is different,” Johnson said.

Everything is set for Costelli to create excitement and fun for Mission Viejo fans. And Utes fans, don’t worry. His arrival might be delayed, but he’s still dreaming of Utah scenery.

“I definitely want to try snow boarding,” he said.