Mission Viejo takes CIF Division IAA crown with 24-0 victory over Bellarmine of San Jose while Del Oro of Loomis wins the CIF D2AA title by downing Camarillo 16-6. Diablos end 16-0 while the Golden Eagles prevented the Scorpions from doing the same.
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Add another chapter to the Johnson family football legacy in Orange County – and in California for that matter.
With a huge assist from another family – brothers Colin and Brenden Schooler – head coach Bob Johnson’s squad at Mission Viejo captured the CIF Division I-AA state bowl title with a 24-0 triumph over Bellarmine of San Jose in the second of two CIF state finals played in rainy conditions on Friday night at Sacramento State.
One week after the Bells ventured up the hill to Folsom and shocked the higher-ranked Bulldogs and ended their 30-game win streak (which was the longest in the state), Mission Viejo dominated up front and extended its win streak to 28 games (which will be the longest in the state heading into next season).
Johnson wasn’t necessarily happy about going into the CIF state bowls after his team stood at 14-0 following a win against Vista Murrieta of Murrieta in the CIF Southern Section West Valley Division final, but was very happy after Mission Viejo earned its first CIF state football title.
Making the night even sweeter was culminating a 16-0 season with grandson Brock as the quarterback. In 1986, Bob Johnson was the head coach with his son, Bret, leading an undefeated squad (that also was State Team of the Year) at El Toro of Lake Forest. Bret’s brother and Brock’s uncle, Rob (the former NFL quarterback), also is on the Mission Viejo coaching staff.
“That’s really special, isn’t it?” Bob Johnson said. “Brock has had an outstanding year. He’s the biggest leader I have ever been around.”
Mission Viejo’s only other CIF state title was a co-title in boys track with Crenshaw of Los Angeles at the 1982 state meet, which ironically also was held in Sacramento (at Hughes Stadium). The school has won many mythical state titles in other sports, such as swimming, soccer and softball.
Bellarmine (13-2) was matching punts with the Diablos in the early going of the game, but in the second quarter lost field position on a short punt, enabling Mission Viejo to start out on the Bells’ side of the field.
With a 27-yard pass catch from Brock Johnson (5 of 15, 117 yards, 2 TDs, 2 ints) to Brenden Schooler getting the ball even closer, Mission Viejo broke the scoreless tie with 3:28 left in the second quarter on a 13-yard TD pass from Johnson to standout sophomore Olaijah Griffin.
Bellarmine then went backwards again on its next possession (the Bells had minus 19 yards offense in the first half), which set up Mission Viejo again on the Bells’ 40. On the next play, Johnson lofted a 40-yard TD pass to sophomore Austin Osborne and although the score was only 12-0 everyone knew it was going to be a huge mountain for Bellarmine.
“We’re sort of old school hitters that’s for sure,” Johnson said. “We get after people pretty good and the defense played extremely well tonight.”
In the second half, Mission Viejo put the game basically out of reach by scoring on its first series after stopping the Bells. That TD came on a two-yard plunge by Colin Schooler, who in the third quarter alone rushed for 101 yards and two TDs on 10 carries.
Schooler, who is equally effective as a linebacker on defense and has to be on a short list of top candidates for State Junior Player of the Year, finished with 31 carries for 230 yards and a team-high nine tackles.
“This is my happy place right here on the field going both ways,” Colin Schooler said. “With the rain, we had to run more because of the wet balls but we still got it done.”
Brenden Schooler, a senior who along with his brother played last year at Trabuco Hills of Mission Viejo, had seven tackles and caught two passes for 32 yards.
With the win, the Diablos also assured themselves they’ll be No. 4 in the final state rankings, trailing only the two teams playing in Saturday’s CIF Open Division state final (De La Salle and Corona Centennial) along with CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division runner-up St. John Bosco.
Bellarmine’s loss by 24 points probably will drop the Bells from No. 6 to out of the top 10 in the final State Top 25 overall rankings. Folsom (with a loss to the Bells) also likely will fall from its No. 9 ranking. Antonio Garcia led Bellarmine with 11 carries for 83 yards.
“Awesome, it really does feel awesome,” Johnson said. “I have been at this for a long time and have a lot of championships and they are all sweet. It’s fun to see the kids get like this.”
A 9-6 BEATS A 15-0? THAT’S DEL ORO
(Written by Paul Muyskens)
The words from Del Oro of Loomis head coach Casey Taylor to his team after a very challenging schedule saw his boys fall to 2-6, including losses to major state powers De La Salle and Folsom were simple:
“One week at a time and one practice at a time,” he told the team.
Eight weeks later, the Golden Eagles won the Division II-AA state championship with a 16-13 win over previously undefeated Camarillo in the first of five games to be played over two days at Sacramento State.
Del Oro (10-6) won its first CIF state title after two previous appearances. Camarillo (15-1) lost in its first-ever CIF state bowl appearance.
“We felt we matched up better with this team than the other two teams we’ve played in state finals (Helix of La Mesa in 2011 and Bakersfield in 2013),” said Taylor, whose team will rise up from the No. 24 position it was elevated into in this week’s overall State Top 25. “They have beat good teams, but we just matched up. Our secondary is one of our strengths and it was against their receivers. We also did a real good job of containing their quarterback.”
Del Oro set the tone early on when it took the opening kickoff and behind the running of Camrion Davis went 68 yards in nine plays to take the lead, which they would never surrender. Davis, a junior, punched in the TD from seven yards out.
With punts taking over most of the first half from there, the only other score in the first half came on a 38-yard field goal by Bryan Willhide with 1:15 remaining until halftime.
Camarillo, which was averaging 47.8 points per game heading into the night and was No. 18 in the Cal-Hi Sports overall State Top 25, hadn’t been shut out all season and its fewest points scored in the first half was 14.
The Scorpions finally had some success moving the ball late in the first half before running out of time and after a nice kickoff return to start the second half drove all the way down to the Del Oro 30-yard line before a sack backed them up and led to an eventual turnover on downs.
Davis on the night rushed for a season-best 197 yards and two touchdowns. He had only twice before rushed for over 100 yards in a game this season with his previous season-high coming during a 59-49 win over Wood of Vacaville that saw him rush for 127 yards.
“I knew somebody was going to have to step up for us and I had a chance for it to be me,” Davis said. “No one told me directly that I was going to have to play like this, but I wanted to do whatever I could.”
Camarillo finally got on the board with 3:07 remaining in the third quarter when Jake Constantine rolled left and avoided a sack on fourth and 9 from the 18-yard line and found Frankie Tostado coming back to the ball. He caught it near the five-yard line and was able to turn and get into the end zone. The extra point was missed wide left as the rain started to fall making it 10-6.
After a quick possession by Del Oro and a poor punt, it looked like the momentum was on the Scorpions’ side, especially after a jump ball down the sideline which looked to be intercepted but was ruled a catch and after another catch they were inside the 20-yard line looking for the lead. Momentum went away the next play, however, when Constantine rolled to the right, decided to throw into the end zone into heavy coverage and was intercepted by Mason Hurst for a touchback.
Electing to go for it on fourth and one from their own 40 yard line early in the fourth quarter, the Golden Eagles gave it to Davis who gained two yards to move the chains before moving the scoreboard one play later.
On the play, Davis broke a tackle and managed to stay in bounds in the referees’ eyes (although reports had him stepping out of bounds on the televised replays), and broke loose down the right sideline in front of the Del Oro bench for a 58-yard touchdown.
Del Oro did give the Scorpions new life when it fumbled a punt and gave Camarillo the ball at the Golden Eagles’ 21 yard line with 8:39 remaining but their defense came up with a big stop on 4th and one from the 12-yard line. It was Davis, the hero of the night, who made the tackle to turn it back over on downs.
The Scorpions finally made it a one-score game once again when Constantine’s pass went off of Del Oro’s Dominic Pericin and was caught by Thomas Janke for a four-yard TD that cut the lead to three points with 1:53 left.
There was no miraculous finish for Camarillo, however, since Del Oro recovered the onside kick and then ran out the clock.
“Sure, we know this new expanded bowl format helped us,” Taylor said. “But we’ve always played the toughest schedule we can and this year we got in and this time it was our turn.”
Stockton office assistant editor Paul Muyskens contributed to this report. Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at email@example.com. Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports