Sure, Mission Oak was happy to get a No. 1 playoff seed and the accompanying bye week.
But after two weeks of waiting, they were ready to … you know … hit people again.
“Anxious. Excited,” defensive tackle Michael Webster said. “Honestly, we didn’t care who we played. We just wanted to play.”
Enter Roosevelt High. And now … exit Roosevelt High.
Mission Oak beat Roosevelt 68-18 in a lopsided quarterfinal matchup Friday night. The Division IV game took place under a light drizzle at Bob Mathias Stadium in Tulare.
Mission Oak (11-0) didn’t waste time in making a statement.
The Hawks’ defense tallied four first-quarter turnovers. The Hawks’ offense tallied four first-quarter touchdowns.
Thus, the Roughriders’ dreams were pretty much dashed in the first quarter.
“They were pretty dialed in early,” Mission Oak coach Mark Gambini said of his team. “They wanted to get back to playing fast, to doing what they do.”
Mission Oak’s first two scores came with style.
First, Elijah Porchia took a draw 57 yards up the middle in his trademark blazing-fast fashion — untouched.
The second score was set up by spectacular defense.
With the Roughriders inside their own 10, the Hawks’ Brayan Mendez tipped a pass at the line of scrimmage. His tip fell into the hands of teammate Webster, who returned the interception down to the 1-yard line — setting up another Porchia rushing TD.
The tipped interception wasn’t luck, Webster said.
“I got two tips just like that in practice,” he said.
The Hawks’ defense first-quarter damage: interceptions by Webster and Porchia and fumble recoveries by Nick Lewis and LeAndre Jefferson. Paul Porchia added a second-quarter interception to give the Hawks five takeaways before halftime.
Mission Oak (11-0) scored eight unanswered touchdowns before the Roughriders finally got on the scoreboard in the third quarter, when the Hawks’ starters were mostly on the sideline.
Overall, the Hawks were led offensively by Porchia, who had 146 yards rushing and four touchdowns on the ground. He added an 11-yard touchdown reception.
The Hawks’ receivers were led by Koby Tripp, who had five receptions for 105 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Trey McJunkin was 9-for-12 for 162 yards and five touchdowns (connecting with four different receivers).
No. 9-seeded Roosevelt (6-6), who defeated Fowler last week, was led by Willie Fairman, who scored all three Roughrider touchdowns in third quarter garbage time. He had 169 yards rushing and 68 yards receiving. Roughrider quarterback stayed busy, connecting on 20-of-44 passes for 204 yards and three interceptions.
Mission Oak’s win sets up a rematch with No. 4 Wasco, who bounced the Hawks from the playoffs two seasons ago.
The Hawks have a simple, patient game plan for the week ahead.
“Study film,” Tripp said, “just work hard at practice and get dialed in.”