Loara High School's defense has built a reputation of shutting down offenses.
But all the defense managed to hold back Friday night was all-out laughter as Mission Viejo defeated the Saxons, 24-7, in Mission Viejo Stadium.
"We wanted to control the ball," Mission Viejo Coach Bill Crow said.
The Diablos (4-1) controlled not only the football but the game. The first time they had the ball, the Diablos drove 67 yards in eight plays, and running back John Burns scored from the three. Later in the first quarter, the Diablos scored again when Eric Ekdahl kicked a 19-yard field goal.
And that was only the beginning. Although Loara's defense held the Diablos for three straight plays inside its eight-yard line, Burns managed to dive into the end zone from the one on fourth down for another touchdown. Mission Viejo (4-1) missed one more opportunity in the second quarter when defensive back Eric Pryce intercepted a pass from Loara quarterback Bill Jarman and returned it 30 yards to Loara's four-yard line.
However, Mission Viejo was shoved back five yards with an illegal procedure penalty. Then a run by Jay Williams was stopped cold, two of quarterback Troy Kopp's passes fell incomplete, and a short field goal failed.
Loara's defense had finally managed to shut the Diablos down, something it also managed to do on a previous drive that had penetrated the 10-yard line but resulted in only a field goal.
"We were absolutely terrible inside the 10," Crow said. "That was probably the low point for our offense the whole night."
The rest of the night, it had fewer problems. In the third period, defensive back Pat Donnelly intercepted another Jarman pass at Loara's 29 and Williams promptly went that distance on the next play for a touchdown.
"The guys played a good first half, I can say that," Crow said, "but we kind of went to sleep in the second half."
Williams gained 82 yards on 9 carries. Burns wound up with 83 yards on 14 carries, and Kopp completed 8 of 15 passes for 82 yards.
For the Saxons (3-2), Jarman passed for 160 yards but was not very effective. He completed a 19-yard pass to Brian Weiser for Loara's only touchdown.