REV set to challenge Mission Viejo
Mission Viejo football has gotten off to one of the hottest starts in the region.
The Diablos, under the direction of former NFL High School Coach of the Year Bob Johnson, are currently 5-0 and ranked No. 2 in Scott Kennedy's CIF Southern Section Top 20 rankings. They've gained three big players this season in wide receiver Sean Modster, running back Alex Suschek and just recently, UCLA-bound offensive lineman Erik Bunte.
Not one opponent has given the Diablos too terrible of a time, as Mission Viejo has dismantled nearly every opponent it has faced, starting in week zero with a 35-0 shutout over Bakersfield Centennial and continuing on last week when the Diablos rolled over Aliso Niguel with a season-high 84 points.
Fieber has made himself into one of the top quarterbacks in the region, completing 72.2 percent of passes for 1,181 yards and 11 touchdowns. His receivers catch nearly everything coming their way while a handful of backs have been equally as effective on the ground with 834 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns.
Yet still, Johnson isn't quite happy.
"Coaches are never satisfied," said Johnson, who is now in his 13 the season with Mission Viejo. "We're worry warts. Everything needs a little tweaking and adjustment and we're never happy. Whether it's the CIF Finals, after the CIF Finals, it's just the way we are.
Johnson's mentality is common amongst coaches. But adjustments may need to be made coming into this weekend's game against Redlands East Valley.
The Diablos haven't exactly faced the stiffest competition thus far in 2012. San Marcos Mission Hills of the San Diego section gave them the most trouble in Week One, scoring 21 points against Mission Viejo and making it a one-possession game in the final two minutes. But Modster caught a 67-yard touchdown pass from Fieber for the 35-21 win.
"We haven't had any real big hiccups and hopefully we keep it up," Johnson said.
But Johnson was quick to note that Redlands East Valley will pose a particularly tough defensive challenge for a team who has rolled offensively all season.
"They're certainly very strong defensively for the most part, they cause problems," Johnson said. "They've got about the best defensive linemen in the state, if not the country."
One of those in particular has given the Diablos problems in the past. Kylie Fitts, a senior defensive lineman who is slated to play for USC next season was a key factor in last season's 10-7 win over Mission Viejo.
"They're very good, they had one little hiccup where they didn't play very well and it got out of hand. We saw it on TV even before we got the exchange of film," Johnson said. "(Fitts) was good last year and he's good now. It takes more than one to win, that's for sure, and they have a lot more than one."
Fitts was part of a defense that helped REV keep the game close throughout. The key play of the game came in the second quarter when a Wildcat punt bounced off the led of Mission Viejo's Max Redfield and bounced into the end zone where it was covered up by Tanner Shreve for a touchdown.
The loss didn't sit well with the Diablos.
"It wasn't a score-a-thon, that's for sure – they scored on a muffed kick that won them the game – and we don't lose very many games," Johnson said. "It was a big win for them. So congratulations to them."
It was a marquee win for an up-and-coming program in the Inland Division, which garners far less attention than the vaunted Pac-5 Division that Mission Viejo plays in. At the time, the Diablos were ranked nationally and were one of the top five teams in the state.
"This is the biggest win ever," Shreve told ESPN at the time. "We just made REV history."
Head coach Kurt Bruich echoed Shreve's sentiment.
"We just beat a national ranked, state-ranked, perennial powerhouse, and we beat them on defense," Bruich said. "Special teams and defense. ... It's a big win for the Inland Division."
That defense is still thought to be almost equally as strong. Despite a rough go against two top-20 teams in St. Bonaventure and Rancho Cucamonga, the Wildcats did open up their season with a 31-0 win over Carson Dominguez.
Johnson expects nothing less than another shutdown defensive performance from the Wildcats, but also anticipates some intense competition after last year's game.
"Certainly, the kids remember (the loss) very well and so do we," Johnson said. "We certainly like to win but it ends right there if you don't go out there and execute and play. The kids are fired up to play and I'm sure they are as well.
"I expect nothing but a really good game."