Not only did Mission Viejo High School defeat Santa Clarita Canyon, 24-12, at Canyon on Friday night, the top-ranked Diablos punched out the punchless Cowboys to hand them only their second loss on their home field in the past six years.
For Mission Viejo (5-0), it was mission accomplished on all fronts.
The Diablos outgained Canyon, 268 yards to 154, held tailback Chris Peery to 46 yards in 15 carries and intercepted three of quarterback Tim Beidle's passes, returning one for a touchdown.
In the second half, Canyon held the football for only five minutes 27 seconds and gained only nine yards.
"They are a great football team. They challenged us," said Canyon Coach Harry Welch, whose team dropped to 1-3-1. "Their running backs ran at will on us.
"We can play defense, we can play offense. We could have played with them--but we refused. We were afraid to be good."
Mission Viejo grabbed a 14-12 halftime lead and did more than just make it stand up. Junior Bill Denny intercepted Beidle's first pass of the second half and returned it 37 yards for a touchdown. Don Disbro added a 39-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.
Meanwhile, running backs Mark Gaw (66 yards in 18 carries) and Ryan Darke (28 yards in 11 carries) kept the Diablos in command.
"We're coming to the ball and we're gonna be aggressive," Mission Viejo Coach Mike Rush said. "(Beidle) had all the time in the world in the first half. But we got in his face a bit."
Beidle provided Canyon's biggest highlight--and its second touchdown--with 30 seconds to play in the first half.
On first down at the 50, Beidle caught his own pass after it was deflected by a Mission Viejo lineman.
Beidle then pumped, spotted wide receiver Clint Beauer streaking toward the goal line and hurled a strike for a touchdown.
The play was followed by the second of two failed attempts at a two-point conversion by Canyon.
Mission Viejo, despite being assessed 95 yards in penalties, came through in the clutch.
Quarterback Tim Snowden, who completed 12 of 20 passes for 158 yards and a touchdown, completed passes of 13 and 10 yards to sustain a 10-play, 54-yard drive that resulted in the Diablos' touchdown in the first quarter.
Gaw dove one yard for the score.
Canyon marched 81 yards in nine plays to begin the second quarter.