More highs than lows for Yellen in his Mission Viejo debut

By ROB COLLIAS, Correspondent

WAILUKU, Hawaii — The start of the Joey Yellen era for the Mission Viejo football team could only be deemed a success.

The junior signal caller finished 9 of 15 passing for 198 yards and three touchdowns in a 39-14 over Baldwin on the island of Maui on Saturday night.

“Not perfect by any measure, a lot of things that we could improve on, like Coach Bob (Johnson) said,” Yellen said of his starting debut after transferring from St. John Bosco. “We hit some things and then there were a lot of wide-open balls that I missed that I just can’t miss. So, we definitely need to work on that especially with some of the games we have coming up.”

Yellen left the game midway through the third quarter after his third touchdown pass. Jamari Ferrell made it 32-0 on a 50-yard jaunt down the left sideline on their first play from scrimmage in the second half — that play was Ferrell’s last carry in a 143-yard rushing night on 12 carries.

A 9-yard scoring pass from Yellen to Olaijah Griffin made it 39-0 with 7:07 left in the third quarter — that was the final throw Yellen would make.

There were some frustrations for Yellen, the biggest of which came after a 37-yard strike to Akili Arnold took the ball to the Baldwin 9-yard line midway through the second quarter. Four straight incompletions followed, turning the ball over to Baldwin.

“You kind of expect those things out of the first game, but it’s still frustrating,” Yellen said. “There was a little bit of wind — don’t want to blame it on that, but there was a little bit of wind. I think that we’ll be a lot better going forward. It’s our first game, we still have got to remember that.”

In the first quarter, Mission Viejo needed just 41 seconds to score two touchdowns. Elijah Collier rambled around the left side for a 25-yard scoring run on the second play from scrimmage. The short field was set up by a 63-yard kickoff return by Ryan Kennedy on the opening kick.

On the ensuing kickoff, Baldwin’s Bishop Wickes fumbled, Mission’s Chris Mitchell recovered and ran 16 yards untouched into the end zone for the Diablos’ second score in nine seconds.

The Diablos pushed the lead to 25-0 at halftime on the strength of two scoring passes by Yellen. Yellen hit Austin Osborne on a 9-yard touchdown pass late in the first quarter and then found Collier on an 11-yard scoring pass with 1:07 left in the half.

Mission Viejo had 271 yards at halftime and limited the Bears to minus-3.

For the game, Mission finished with 422 yards. Baldwin finished with 98 yards one week after getting shut out by Saint Louis, Marcus Mariota’s alma mater, 61-0.

“Defensively, I thought at times we really looked sharp. Offensively, same way,” Coach Bob Johnson said. “We were hit and miss. I think we showed some real potential and I’m happy with that, but we also showed some rookie mistakes.”

Yellen received much of the same type of evaluation from Johnson.

“He did some really great things and then again he looked like a first-year starter, but that’s what he is,” Johnson said. “He’s got to grow fast. We’re impatient, but he’s a great kid and I love him and he’ll have some fantastic games if he keeps working.”

Mission Viejo   18   7   14   0 – 39
Baldwin             0   0    0   14 – 14
First Quarter
MV—Elijah Collier 25 run (kick failed), 11:28.
MV—Chris Mitchell 16 fumble return (kick failed), 11:19.
MV—Austin Osborne 9 pass from Joey Yellen (kick failed), 0:57.
Second Quarter
MV—Collier 11 pass from Yellen (Austin Miller kick), 1:07.
Third Quarter
MV—Jamari Ferrell 50 run (Miller kick), 9:24.
MV—Olaijah Griffin 9 pass from Yellen (Miller kick), 7:07.
Fourth Quarter
B—Laakea Asuega-Stark 2 run (Maluhia Plunkett kick), 9:39.
B—Aloalii Laga 2 run (Plunkett kick), 3:25.

MISSION VIEJO LEADERS
PASSING—Joey Yellen 9-15-0—198, 3 TDs.
RUSHING—Jamari Ferrell 12-143, Richard Rodriguez 11-61, Elijah Collier 1-25.
RECEIVING—Austin Osborne 4-100, Olaijah Griffin 2-40, Akili Arnold 1-37.

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