Prep Impressions: Nov. 12, 2021

CORONA – The Mission Viejo-Corona Centennial varsity football game on Friday, Nov. 12, 2021, was close until it wasn’t.

For Mission Viejo, a strong start belied the Diablos’ lack of strength and mobility among its interior players. Junior QB Kadin Semonza was accurate early but was forced to roll out on more than half of his throws because of a quickly collapsing pocket, and both his legs and arm tired as the score got more and more lopsided. A lack of a consistent rushing attack also hurt as the team gained just 38 yards on the ground. One bright spot this season was senior DB Jake Higgins, who had a sack, two tackles for losses and knocked down two passes against Centennial. He finished with a team-leading 104 total tackles.

Mission Viejo head coach Chad Johnson: “We knew on film that this was a very good football team. We felt they were better than any team we’ve played this year. They were the best team and we’ve played some good teams. We knew what was coming for us. We knew that the front was lopsided (and) we felt that their front on both sides of the ball was a lot bigger than us and we felt that as the game went on they’d start leaning on us and we’d be in trouble, especially in the run game. You saw it – runs started popping and stuff like that – so offensively we just really shot ourselves in the foot. I’m on the I-Pad on the sidelines seeing every single play and saying, ‘It’s there but this guy didn’t do his job or he ran the wrong route,’ and so it’s really self-inflicted wounds offensively. I thought for the most part, for most of the game, we did a pretty good job of neutralizing their front. We only gave up a sack, maybe one or two, and I feel like we did a nice job there, but we really just hurt ourselves. Whatever happened tonight it doesn’t take away from the football season that we’ve had. I think we’ve had a phenomenal season. Our seniors played really well all season and it was grueling. We’re banged up, missing two starting offensive linemen, just hurt, and even the guys on defense are being held together with tape and glue. (Centennial) is a very good football team. They do a great job and we gambled a lot, and unfortunately we lost a lot. We lost a lot of big bets tonight. Defending their offense is really tough to do. It’s a great offense with really good players. It’s the best team we’ve played this year.”

For Corona Centennial, playing for the first time in two weeks was a little strange but it still only took four plays and less than 90 seconds to the Huskies find the end zone on Friday. Five touchdowns in the first half and four more in the second were more than enough for the Inland Area’s No. 1 team to stamp their ticket to the semifinals, where they’ll host Santa Ana Mater Dei in the biggest prep football game in the country next week. And no matter how good they’ve been to this point, the offensive will have find yet a higher gear, and all three levels of the defense must perform above expectations for there to be an upset.

Corona Centennial head coach Matt Logan: “We’ve never played against each other before so it was nice to do that. Each year we’re kind of battling to be ‘The Best Public School’ or whatever people kind of name it that. We got them this time but I’m sure they’ll be back. They’re a good team with a great coach and great players. We did OK. I think we played well but I don’t think we played great and it’s weird, the first bye week is a little strange especially coming off two games where we didn’t play a ton anyway because of the score, so that’s why I think a first round game is so important for us because of having that time off. I’m happy with the performance. We came out healthy so let’s just get ready for the next one. We’ll enjoy this but we’ll get back to work and get better and work on things we need to improve.”

Mission Viejo – 7 – 6 – 3 – 0 — 16
Centennial – 14 – 21 – 21 – 6 — 62
First quarter

C – Carter 32 run (Angeles kick), 10:54
M – Manassero 14 run (Ewing kick), 3:51
C – Riley 24 pass from Carter (Angeles kick), 1:40
Second quarter
M – Dominguez 1 run (kick blocked), 9:19
C – Cortes 1 run (Angeles kick), 6:25
C – Carter 51 run (Angeles kick), 4:37
C – Jimenez 25 pass from Conklin (Angeles kick), 0:45
Third quarter
C – Conklin 42 run (Angeles kick), 7:59
M – Ewing 30 FG, 2:53
C – Young 35 pass from Carter (Angeles kick), 1:59
C – Hatcher 47 run (Angeles kick), 0:33
Fourth quarter
C – Jones 40 run (kick blocked), 8:50
Team statistics
Total plays
– Mission Viejo 75; Centennial 51.
First downs
– Mission Viejo 13; Centennial 13.
Penalties – Mission Viejo 7-45; Centennial 4-55.
Turnovers – Mission Viejo 0; Centennial 0.
Individual statistics

Rushing – Mission Viejo: Manassero 13-52, Dominguez 1-1, Holman 1-1, Reed 1-(minus-3), Semonza 8-(minus-13); Centennial: Carter 6-125, Cortes 16-91, Jones 3-74, Conklin 3-54, Hatcher 1-47, Barela 1-3, Butler 1-3.
Passing – Mission Viejo: Semonza 22-35-0-252, Hanson 2-3-0-20; Centennial: Conklin 5-10-0-132, Carter 4-7-0-87.
Receiving – Mission Viejo: Matthews 8-101, Holman 9-79, Reed 4-44, Anderson 1-36, Manassero 2-(minus-2); Centennial: Jimenez 2-55, Cortes 1-38, Kennybrew 1-36, Young 1-35, Denham 1-30, Riley 1-24, Pritchett 1-3, Wallner 1-(minus-2).
Interceptions – None.

Photo by SOCa Prep Sports


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