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ORANGE COUNTY PREP FOOTBALL

Mission Viejo Fumbles Its Opener

September 09, 2000|MIKE BESACK | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Instead of taking a step toward solidifying its No. 4 preseason ranking, Mission Viejo High instead went the other direction Friday night.

That is, toward repeating last season's 0-4 start.

Mission Viejo lost to visiting Temescal Canyon, 22-14, thanks to turnovers, dropped passes, missed takeaways . . .

Basically, what Coach Bob Johnson referred to as, "shooting ourselves in the foot."

The Diablos turned the ball over twice in Temescal Canyon territory in the second half but still tied the game at 14-14 on a Robbie Dubois two-yard run with 6:33 left in the game. But the Titans went up 22-14 2:04 later after a four-play drive and a two-point conversion after a fake PAT kick.

After turning the ball over on downs, the Diablos got another chance when Craig Lewis recovered a Titan fumble at the Diablo 30 with 2:04 left in the game. Mission Viejo stalled again, though, this time at the Titans' 44.

Although Dubois led all rushers with 172 yards in 22 carries, Mission Viejo turned the ball over three times and dropped several fumbles and interceptions, not to mention a few more balls from their own quarterback, USC-bound Billy Hart.

"We've got to eliminate the mistakes," Johnson said of his team, which dropped what looked like two sure interceptions late in the third quarter. "We're a much better team than we were last year, but we're 0-1 like we were last year."

Temescal Canyon, which reached the Division VII semifinals and finals the past two years, was led by running back Kris Linscott, who carried 19 times for 169 yards and two touchdowns.

Hart began shaky for Mission Viejo, completing only two of seven first half passes with one interception. However, he got the Diablos even at 7-7 in the second quarter with a one-yard touchdown run.

Hart completed 12 of 25 passes for 114 yards.

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