There was an invasion of top Orange County teams on Friday night. Mission Viejo, Anaheim Servite and Orange Lutheran came to the San Fernando Valley for high school football games. It was good for the restaurant business. It wasn’t so good for the Valley teams. Orange County went 3-0.
In Mission Hills, Bishop Alemany had the opportunity to show it can play with the big boys. Coming off a 56-point performance against Westlake Village Oaks Christian, the Warriors had a huge offensive line, a USC-bound receiver and a veteran quarterback, but a young, feisty Mission Viejo team wasn’t impressed.
The Diablos’ defense held Bishop Alemany scoreless in the first half and quarterback Kadin Semonza picked apart Bishop Alemany’s secondary, leading to a 30-7 victory. Mission Viejo coach Chad Johnson gave a clinic on how to use play action fakes and routine handoffs to control the clock and allow Semonza to choose his spots.
Semonza, a junior, completed 14 of 20 passes for 279 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed for 54 yards in four carries. He had touchdown passes of 31 and 39 yards to KJ Reed, 23 yards to Jackson Holman and nine yards to Chase Valousky.
“He’s a stud,” Johnson said of Semonza. “The big difference tonight was our offensive line gave him time.”
With Alemany pass rusher Damonic Williams missing because of a targeting penalty violation last week, the Diablos took advantage.
Both programs are using the early season to prepare for bigger challenges. Mission Viejo, frustrated with losses to San Clemente in league play, decided to upgrade its nonleague schedule in the hope that can lead to a better performance against the Tritons on Oct. 29. The Diablos lost to Servite but have wins over Apple Valley and Long Beach Poly and a new defense is exceeding expectations. Defensive end Finley Weinheimer, safety Ruben Lopez and linebacker Daniel Dominguez play like gnats who can’t be eradicated.
In his fourth season as coach, Casey Clausen of Bishop Alemany has focused on building up the offensive and defensive lines for the chance to compete against Division 1 opponents. Johnson, who used to be the offensive coordinator at Bellflower St. John Bosco, said Clausen has the correct approach.
“If you’re going to compete with the Boscos and Mater Deis, the first thing you have to do is have people upfront,” Johnson said. “You have to do things so drastically to account for lopsided line play.”
The Warriors lost to St. John Bosco 24-3 this month, dropping them to 0-2, but the closeness of the defeat was a warning sign to the remaining teams on Bishop Alemany’s schedule. The Warriors are hoping to win the Mission League but the offense continues to struggle. The defense was effective stopping the run Friday, but the secondary left too many Mission Viejo receivers open. Holman had four catches for nearly 100 yards to lead the Diablos.
In other noteworthy games on Friday night, Turner Helton, the son of former USC coach Clay Helton, threw three touchdown passes to lead Palos Verdes past Wilmington Banning 27-21. Unbeaten St. John Bosco traveled to Chesapeake, Va., and defeated Oscar Smith 49-0. Matayo Uiagalelei caught two touchdown passes for the Braves.