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ORANGE COUNTY SOUTHERN SECTION FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS |
DIVISION II

Dubois and Diablos Are Outrun by Chino

November 25, 2000|DAVE McKIBBEN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

CHINO — Mission Viejo didn't expect its season to end this soon, and surely not this way. Not with its star running back Robbie Dubois being turned away twice on short yardage in the fourth quarter.

But those two plays and Chino running back Gabe Rivera were the difference in the Cowboys' 17-7 upset of fourth-seeded Mission Viejo Friday night in the second round of the Southern Section Division II playoffs before 5,500 fans.

Dubois still had a big night--rushing for 164 yards and returning a kick 84 yards--but Chino's defense had the answers in the crucial situations.

The first came with Mission Viejo (9-3) trailing, 17-7, early in the fourth quarter. With first and goal at Chino's four-yard line, Dubois gained two yards and Hart picked up a yard--setting up third and goal at the one. Dubois--whose blocking back Ryan Powdrell was out with a broken leg--dove for the end zone, but he was met up high a foot away from the goal line. The Diablos went off tackle to Dubois again, but he was hit hard by two defenders at the one.

"They were bigger and stronger up front," Mission Viejo Coach Bob Johnson said.

They proved it again with 5:26 left--stopping Dubois on fourth and three at Chino's 41.

"Eleven hearts, one goal," Chino linebacker Phil Fiandaca said. "That's how we describe our defense."

Mission Viejo's defense was just as stingy in the first half, holding Chino (11-1) to two first downs and Rivera to two yards in six carries. The Diablos led, 7-3, at the half, but they probably should have had a bigger cushion. Dubois' 27-yard run and a five-yard Dubois run on fourth down gave Mission Viejo a first down at the Chino 11. But a clipping penalty forced Nate Atkinson to try a 31-yard field goal, which was wide left.

"That just killed us," Johnson said. "That wasn't a clip, but it was a block below the waist and that's a penalty."

Chino took a 10-7 lead by going 69 yards in 11 plays on its first drive of the second half. But Rivera would have never scored on a four-yard run if a roughing-the-passer penalty at midfield had not extended the drive.

Rivera (139 yards, 25 carries) scored again with 2:02 left in the third quarter, and again, he took advantage of a Mission Viejo mistake. Diablo quarterback Billy Hart had a communication problem with his receiver that resulted in an interception by defensive back Mike Pfaff.

"We had this game," said Hart, whose 44-yard second-quarter pass to Jason Hibbard accounted for the Diablos' only points. "Mistakes just killed us. We didn't make plays and we didn't execute."

But Hart, who is going to USC next year, still felt a sense of pride about what he accomplished in two years after transferring from Foothill.

"We had a good season," he said. "We're rebuilding the program. It's going to be a powerhouse in the years to come."

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