Football in late November usually brings about a change in time, and a slight downturn in the temperature, even for Southern California. The temperature in Southern California is expected to be unseasonably high for this Friday’s semi-final playoff game between Mater Dei and Mission Viejo, high 80’s and hot.
Like the Southern California temps, Mater Dei High School [12-0], USA Today’s number one ranked team in the country comes in with a white hot offense averaging 47.8 points a game. The offense is led notebly by junior, JT Daniels who is the top quarterback in the country and is a 2019 USC commit. He has no shortage of weapons to work with having two 4-Star receivers in ‘19 Horace McCoy III and ‘18 Amon-Ra St. Brown, the number four ranked receiver in the country according to Rivals.com.
Mission Viejo is equally as hot and 12-0 on the season and ranked #22 in the country as recognized by USA Today. The aptly named Diablos are averaging 40.5 points a game and have something that all championship teams need and thats a running game. ‘19 runningback Akili Arnold has run wild in the playoffs averaging a staggering 241 yards in two playoffs game —- 169 yards against Servite in the opening round, and 313 yards against Orange Lutheran in last week’s second round game. The star power is no less impressive for Mission Viejo with ‘Impact Players’ all over the field in ‘18 four-star receiver and defensive back Olaijah Griffin, ‘18 four-star receiver Austin Osborne, and ‘18 three-star offensive lineman, Jarrett Patterson.
Mission Viejo, a public provincial school, has a daunting task ahead taking on the number one team in the nation, a private independent school with seemingly unlimited resources. They will, however play at home in front of what should be a capacity crowd, most of whom hope to see Bob Johnson’s [head coach] final season extend to the state finals next weekend. If that is to happen, the Diablos will have to find a way to make JT Daniels very uncomfortable throwing the football, and keep Akili Arnold going with the same dynamic running game they’ve had throughout the season. Diablos’ junior quarterback, Joey Yellen is capable [2,439 total passing yards; 30 touchdowns] and will also have to play well if Mission Viejo wants to upset the Monarchs and send Bob Johnson to another CIF SS Final.
HSPN West will once again be on top of as much of the action as possible from the sidelines of the game with updates on Twitter @hspnsports. There promises to be a lot of action from Mission Viejo Friday, November 24 – kickoff at 7:30 PM PST.