MISSION VIEJO, Calif. — Lining up the right way.
Running a crisp rout on the field.
Throwing a clean pass through the air.
To Mission Viejo football head coach Chad Johnson, this team is all about doing things the right way — on and off the field. To him, it comes with the territory at a football program like Mission's; one that has seven CIF titles and 25 league championships to its name.
“This program expects to do well and win league championships every single year," he said.
The ability to compete, and compete amongst the best, is especially important in today's ultra-competitive high school landscape.
It's a time where players don't always stick to their hometown schools. Instead they often choose programs based on exposure and strength of schedule.
“When you look as the head coach at what can you do better, one of the things I decided to do was improve our non-league schedule," he explained. "And then, there's also this part of it where parents and kids in today’s day and age are looking around and shopping schools.”
As a public school, Johnson said he has to do more to make a statement — one that said the Siablos can compete with the best.
"We're playing teams like Long Beach Poly, at the top of the Moore league, teams like Servite who will compete for a Trinity League championship, and Alemany who almost certainly will be at the top of their league," he said.
Showing potential student athletes that, "if you attend your local public school you can still have all the success that the privates do."
In fact, it's that attitude that has brought in players like junior quarterback Kadin Semonza and junior wide receiver Mikey Matthews, two athletes who, as best friends, share similar mentalities when it comes to their school.
“A lot of these kids coming from youth football, it’s always private, private, private," Semonza said. "But i think we’re a good example that it doesn’t matter where you go, if you’re a good player they will find you.”
But aside from just being good players, Johnson wants to make sure his program understands, it's about being good people too.
When he came to Mission Viejo three years ago, that was always part of the focus.
“For you just to go into the program and almost be selfish, just take what it gives you and not give anything back," Johnson said, "I think you’re missing something from a character development standpoint.”
And so with every tough matchup he schedules, Johnson also makes a point to put together games that make a different statement.
From a game honoring the Armed Forces, specifically the 13 fallen soldiers in Afghanistan, to a homecoming game this Friday that will fundraise and bring awareness to pediatric cancer.
“This week, we’re doing a game that is close to my heart," Johnson said. "You know I lost my mom to cancer and we’re playing for cancer this week. Our booster club will be making a donation to CHOC hospital."
“I think the best players have a purpose to play and a reason to play, and that’s why they wake up every day to do what they do," Semonza explained.
"It just comes back to family," Matthews added. "I can’t really explain it, it’s just bigger than any game. That’s what makes us a brotherhood and a family because all those words come back together."
A family that yes, comes together and competes on the football field, but also comes together for the community.
"As coaches we want to make our players aware that there’s more than football," Johnson said. "You have a duty wearing this uniform to give back to our community."
Giving “doing things the right way” a little more meaning.