LA HABRA – La Habra’s football team achieved a much better result in Week 1 than it did in Week 0.
How can the Highlanders fare against a most-formidable opponent in Week 3?
La Habra plays the best team on its regular-season schedule Friday when the Highlanders take on visiting Mission Viejo.
Mission Viejo is ranked No. 2 by the Register in Orange County, behind Mater Dei, and is No. 6 in CIF-SS Division 1. Mission Viejo is No. 5 in the CalHiSports.com state top 25. (When you’re higher in the state rankings than in the CIF-SS Division 1 rankings, that says a lot about the quality of CIF-SS Division 1.)
La Habra is No. 9 in Orange County and No. 9 in CIF-SS Division 2.
The Highlanders opened the season with a 35-7 loss to Upland in Week 0. They followed that with a 45-17 win over Tesoro last week.
La Habra senior running back Skyler Taylor, a transfer from Troy, rushed for 287 yards and a school-record seven touchdowns against Tesoro. Among the touchdowns was a 92-yard run. Taylor is supported by an experienced offensive line that includes Tyler Casados, a transfer from La Mirada.
The Highlanders defense was in big-play mode, too. Isaiah Alcocer and Clark Phillips III had interceptions and Jalen Jones recovered a Tesoro fumble.
La Habra coach Frank Mazzotta said the loss to Upland had less to do with the quality of the Highlanders team than it did with how good is Upland, which is No. 2 in CIF-SS Division 2.
Mazzotta said Mission Viejo looks even better than Upland.
“They have everything,” he said. “That’s one of those teams that first of all is so well-coached, plus they have a guy at every position on the field who is good.
“Most high school teams don’t have a guy like that at every spot.”
Among those guys are receivers Olaijah Griffin, who committed to UCLA and is a tremendous defensive back, and Washington-committed Austin Osborne.
Osborne, All-Orange County first team as a sophomore and junior, is among the county’s receiving leaders with eight receptions for 176 yards and a touchdown, although like Mission Viejo’s other starters, he does not see much action in the second half of the Diablos’ one-sided games.