From the time just before the lights went out until Eric Ekdahl's 24-yard touchdown run, Mission Viejo High School remained in control, defeating Irvine, 21-12, Thursday night in front of 1,000 fans in Mission Viejo Stadium.
A swirling rain knocked out the lights on a standard on the visitors' side of the field seconds after John Burns scored on a one-yard run late in the first quarter to give the Diablos a 7-0 lead in a South Coast League game.
The lights, installed just before the start of the season, stayed off and the game, like the rain, continued unabated. The remaining standards provided enough lighting, though it was a little dark in one end zone.
Likewise, Burns, with an assist from Ekdahl, provided much of Mission Viejo's offense. Burns rushed for 186 yards in 29 carries. He might have come close to 300 if he hadn't had two long runs--one a 72-yard burst down the sideline--called back because of penalties.
Burns, a senior running back, seemingly had little trouble with the wet turf. He was able to cut and slash his way through the Vaquero defenders.
"He's a good runner," Diablo Coach Bill Crow said of Burns. "We like to go to him. He's got good speed and can get around the corner.
"We like to throw him the ball, too. Of course, we couldn't tonight. (But) the field held up great."
The weather played a big factor in the game plan of each team. Mission Viejo (6-1 overall, 2-0 in league play) threw just four passes. Quarterback Troy Kopp completed 2 of 4 for 19 yards and 1 touchdown.
Jeff Jones, Irvine quarterback, was 4 of 14 for 84 yards and 2 touchdowns. He threw one interception.
Unlike Mission Viejo, however, Irvine had trouble running the ball. The Vaqueros could only get 45 yards rushing.
Tony Bolanos, Irvine wide receiver, caught both touchdowns. The first, a 13-yarder with 2:42 left in the half, brought Irvine (3-4, 0-2) to within 7-6. A bad snap on the extra-point attempt prevented the Vaqueros from tying.
Kopp completed one of his four passes to tight end Joe Ohman for a 15-yard score with 55 seconds left in the third quarter.
On the next Diablos' next series, Ekdahl ran 24 yards to score to give Mission Viejo a 21-6 lead with 11:13 left.
Though Jones connected with Bolanos again for a 41-yard score less than three minutes later, Mission Viejo kept the ball on the ground and in the hands of Burns, Ekdahl (38 yards in 6 carries) and Jay Williams (51 yards in 10 carries).