Vista Murrieta Back in CIF Championship Game Friday

It's the first weekend of December, so it must be time to watch the Vista Murrieta High School football team play in the CIF finals. ...

It's the first weekend of December, so it must be time to watch the Vista Murrieta High School football team play in the CIF finals.

The Broncos will make their seventh consecutive appearance in the championship game Friday at 7 p.m. when they play host to Mission Viejo in the CIF Southern Section West Valley Division finals. Last year, Vista lost to Mission Viejo, 21-10, in the championship game at Angels Stadium.

Although they have won only one CIF title during that stretch (2011, over Centennial), the Broncos have established a tradition of building momentum through the season and playing aggressive football during the playoffs. This year, the Broncos (12-1) will have the added revenge factor against Mission Viejo and home field advantage as well.

Vista Murrieta coach Coley Candaele (left), who has been in charge throughout those winning seasons, knows it will take a lot to beat the Diablos anywhere and anytime, however. The are 13-0 and top-ranked in the division.

"One thing Mission Viejo has is consistency," Candaele said. "They don't make mistakes. There's no secrets when you play them. Their offense can run the ball and they can throw the ball with efficiency. Defensively, they try to trick you and they're very physical in their front seven."

Vista Murrieta will counter with a balanced offense featuring junior quarterback Karson Greeley (2,165 yards and 23 touchdowns passing), junior running back Cole Dubots (795 yards and 14 touchdowns rushing) and all-purpose back Kyle Williams (509 yards rushing, 796 yards receiving, 2,301 all-purpose yards).

Williams returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown and a punt 81 yards for another TD in last week's five-overtime victory over Rancho Cucamonga. Dubots sealed the Broncos' 62-56 win with a 10-yard touchdown run in the fifth round of overtime.

"Dubots is finally healthy," Candaele said. "He didn't play much the first half of the season. He came off a hamstring injury from the state track meet and as soon as that was healed, he had turf toe. He's doing now what he's always been capable of doing."

Defensive standouts include lineman Kevin Atkins, linebacker Ryan Hudkins and safety Tanner Williams.

"Hudkins is really a gritty football player," Candaele said. "He's a throwback -- the kind of guy you imagine getting down and playing in the mud, coming up all bloody and dirty but still going at it."

Candaele said the winning reputation the program has established has both its good and bad points.

"The expectations are very high," he said. "The disadvantage is that sometimes kids expect success and they don't understand what it takes. That's the hardest thing we're battling now.

"Last week was a great win, but there's really no carryover. We've done our conditioning and the guys are in phenomenal shape. It comes down to how much they want it."


Vista Murrieta High School 8454808432106085870

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