Even without star linebacker and backup quarterback Tre Madden, Mission Viejo has plenty of weapons, and they were all on display Friday night in the Diablos' 37-7 rout of host Long Beach Poly at Veterans Stadium.
The USC-bound Madden sat out the game because of a fractured right foot, but his teammates did just fine, racking up nearly 400 yards of offense and capitalizing on virtually every Poly miscue.
Dallas Kessman rushed for 137 yards and a career-best four touchdowns as Mission Viejo showed why it is ranked No. 1 in the Southland by The Times. As efficient as the Diablos' offense was, their defense was equally impressive, forcing five turnovers and blocking a punt.
"We had a great week of practice, and it showed on the field tonight," said Kessman, who scored on runs of four, two, eight and six yards.
"Mostly, I was just trying to read what the defense was giving me. Our coaches did a great job preparing us and we were as ready as we could be for this game."
Jahleel Pinner added 110 yards and one touchdown in 18 carries for the Diablos (4-0), who scored on their first three possessions to build a 20-0 halftime lead. Quarterback Alex Bridgford completed eight of 20 passes for 106 yards with one interception.
"Even though we were ahead at halftime, Coach [ Bob Johnson] didn't let us relax," Kessman said. "He told us whichever team has the most heart is going to win."
Poly (2-2) averted the shutout when Kameron White took a handoff and dashed 92 yards up the sideline for a touchdown with 36 seconds remaining. Starting quarterback Chaiyse Hales completed one of four passes with an interception and backup Emmanuel Lara fared no better for the 13th-ranked Jackrabbits, completing four of 13 passes for 20 yards with three interceptions.
"We took the approach that this was just a regular game for us, only a little more intense," said Hales, who didn't play after the first quarter. "They were more focused than us. That's all it was. We didn't care who was playing for them and who wasn't."
Valencia dominates Palmdale, 45-7
Steve Manfro ran the opening kickoff back for a touchdown, rushed for two more scores and added a 58-yard pass reception for a fourth TD as the No. 20 Vikings (3-0) remained unbeaten with a rout of visiting Palmdale.
Manfro finished with 389 all-purpose yards while his four scores pushed his season total to 14 touchdowns.
Rickey Minyard and Richard Mullaney each scored two touchdowns to lead No. 23 Thousand Oaks (2-1, 1-1) past Newbury Park (1-2, 0-2), 35-14…Shane Truelove and Coltin Gerhart scored second-half touchdowns to push No. 8 Norco (3-0) to a 35-21 victory over Upland (3-1)….Max Wittek completed 14 of 19 passes for 314 yards and four touchdowns to lead Mater Dei (1-2) to a 42-14 victory over No. 21 San Clemente (4-1)… Blair Holliday caught five passes for 115 yards and two touchdowns in addition to scoring on a 28-yard run to lift No. 11 Oaks Christian (2-1, 2-0) to a 47-6 victory over Calabasas (1-2, 0-2). Richie Harrington completed nine of 15 passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns for the Lions.