BUENA PARK — Returning from a successful Canadian adventure, Sunny Hills proved Friday that it still has a pretty good grasp of football American style.
The Lancers, who moved into the Orange County poll at No. 10 this week, shut down No. 9 Mission Viejo and came up with just enough offense to win the nonleague game, 13-0, at Buena Park High School.
Last week, Sunny Hills defeated Ross Shepherd, 36-9, in Edmonton playing by Canadian rules, including 12 players to a side and only three plays to make a first down.
This time, with more familiar rules, the Sunny Hills defense, anchored by linebacker Brian Willmer, held Mission Viejo's powerful ground game to 35 yards. Mission Viejo's Erick Fielding, who entered as the county's fourth-leading rusher, gained only 22 yards--116 below his average--in seven carries.
Sunny Hills (4-0) sacked Mission Viejo quarterback Jake Londe five times, including three by defensive lineman Josh Micklos, and intercepted two of his passes. Londe, a junior who started in place of Brad Weekes, completed five passes for 29 yards.
The Diablos (2-2) managed only 64 yards in total offense.
"The kids really played well tonight," Sunny Hills Coach Tim Devaney said. "This was their best collective game. I'm pleased at how we did coming off the Canada thing."
If it weren't for a sometimes shaky Sunny Hills offense, the Lancers' winning margin would have been greater.
Sunny Hills' running back trio, Jeff Willis, Jacob Cuccia and James Tindukasiri, combined for 176 yards, but the Lancers reached the end zone only once. Cuccia, who rushed for a game-high 74 yards in 10 carries, scored on a five-yard run midway through the first quarter.
Sunny Hills had to travel only 15 yards on the drive because Mission Viejo fumbled away a punt return attempt.
Mission Viejo also aided Sunny Hills' other two scoring drives--giving the Lancers the ball on the Mission Viejo 48 after a nine-yard punt on the first one and allowing them to take over on the Diablo 49 after a 29-yard punt on the second.
But a Mission Viejo defense that wouldn't break, two Sunny Hills first-half turnovers and 87 yards of Sunny Hills penalties prevented the score from getting out of hand.
When little is going exactly right, it pays to have someone do no wrong, and Friday the Lancers had placekicker/punter Eric Smith.
Smith punted well, made his extra-point attempt and kicked second-half field goals of 20 and 46 yards to give Sunny Hills a more comfortable lead.