Mission College Prep ran all over Rio Hondo Prep on Friday night, amassing 251 yards on the ground in the Royals’ season opener at home.
The Royals relied upon a potent running game and a stout defense, scoring in the last three quarters in a 23-6 victory. Junior running back Brayden Corona scored rushing three touchdowns, and had 211 yards rushing on 25 carries for Mission Prep.
“He’s poised for a big year,” Mission Prep coach Chad Henry said. “He runs hard, he works hard, he’s a guy that’s very humble, but when he get out here on the field he’s a fiery beast. We’re excited how he ran the ball today.”
The game was won in the trenches, with the swarming Royals’ defense recovering two fumbles on runs by the Kares, and Mission Prep’s offensive line opening up big holes for Corona.
Corona had several electric runs, one for 42 yards and a touchdown in the third quarter and another for 70 yards, which set up a 1-yard touchdown for him from on the next play in the second quarter.
Rio Hondo struck first on a 20-yard pass from quarterback Clark Bolinger to running back Stephen Santizo with 47 seconds remaining in the first quarter for their only point.
The ensuing extra-point was blocked by Conrad Ochotorena, who also had a fumble recovery. The Royals forced two other turnovers — a fumble recovered by Jacob Wright and an interception by Sal LaCasto. At the end of the first half, Rio Hondo was marching down the field after three consecutive pass interference penalties called on Mission Prep. With 20 seconds left, LaCasto intercepted a pass on the 15-yard line after Bolinger was flushed from the pocket, completely shifting the momentum going into halftime.
“We stopped the run really well, we started running the ball really well, and that set the tempo for us,” Henry said. “People like to think we throw the ball around. We want that reputation that we play physical, we play tough, (we’re a) hard-nosed team. We have to have that reputation to compete in our league.”
In the third quarter, Justin McKeague kicked a 31-yard field goal, which bounced off the upright and over to make the score 10-6.
Corona added another 1-yard dive with 3:11 remaining in the third quarter and in the fourth, scored the 42-yard run, making several Kares miss on his way to the end zone to make the score 23-6.
Rio Hondo would not threaten again.
Mission Prep travels to Irvine to face Crean Lutheran next.