A week after intercepting three Conner Manning passes, Hunter Remington returned two interceptions for touchdowns as second-seeded Mission Viejo opened the Southern Section Pac-5 playoffs with a victory over Westlake Village Westlake.
Remington—maybe teammates should start calling him Remington Steal—wasn't the only highlight for Mission Viejo's defense in its 42-10 victory over the Warriors. Max Redfield also returned an interception for a score as the Diablos turned a 3-0 deficit in the opening minutes into a 28-3 advantage.
The win by Mission Viejo (11-0) sets up a second round game next week against Long Beach Poly (8-3) in a game that pits two of the Southland's preeminent public school football programs against each other. The game will be played at Mission Viejo.
Poly, which won back-to-back section titles in 2007 and 2008—the latter against Tesoro, 20-17—scored a 40-25 victory over La Puente Bishop Amat, one of the division's two at-large teams. Poly has won seven in a row.
Mission Viejo's offense contributed touchdown runs by Garrett Marino of 2 yards, Daniel Marx of 1 and Alex Suchesk of 3.
After Westlake (6-5) took the lead less than 2 1/2 minutes into the game on Kevin Robledo's 28-yard field goal, Marino scored from two yards in the Diablos' goal-line package; Marino is normally a defensive end that Mission occasionally utilizes in short-yardage situations.
Then the defense became Mission's most relevant offense. Remington returned an interception 89 yards for a touchdown as time ran out on the first quarter. Redfield, a two-way star who last week decommitted from USC, returned an interception 79 yards for a 21-3 lead with 4:30 left in the half. Then Remington struck again 97 seconds later with a 42-yard interception return and a 28-3 halftime advantage. It's the third interception return for a touchdown in two weeks for Remington.
Mission had the one-sided lead despite being outgained in the first half, 199-126.
Westlake's offense scored early in the third quarter on an 8-yard pass from Neil Uskali to Alex Egurbide, but Mission Viejo countered twice in the fourth quarter with scoring drives.
The defense keyed Mission Viejo's 49-7 victory over El Toro a week earlier, giving the Diablos the South Coast League title, by intercepting six passes by Manning. They intercepted four passes on Friday as Westlake completed only 19 of 45 passes for 210 yards.
Daniel Pesak's 15-yard interception return set up Marx's short TD run.
The Diablos' offense was balanced, accounting for 142 yards on the ground and 112 in the air. Alex Suchesk rushed for 77 yards, and Marcus Collins for 60.