Mission Viejo football benefitting from two-quarterback system on eve of CIF-SS Div. 2 championship
The combination of Draiden Trudeau and Luke Fahey has propelled the Diablos forward this season
MISSION VIEJO — Legendary NFL coach John Madden had a saying.
“If you have two quarterbacks, you actually have none,” he said.
Mission Viejo’s football team is proving otherwise.
Junior Draiden Trudeau and sophomore Luke Fahey have been sharing snaps way back since this past summer while competing for the starting quarterback job.
Fast forward to just days before the Diablos face Servite for the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 championship and the two quarterbacks are more than comfortable leading their offense together as one.
“I don’t see a reason why you can’t do it,” Mission Viejo coach Chad Johnson said. “Their completion percentage is high and their turnovers are low.”
In fact, most, if not all, of their overall statistics are comparable.
Johnson said that if the two were competing in a combine, Fahey has a stronger arm. In his first full varsity season, Fahey has completed 62 percent of his 207 passes for 1,722 yards with 19 touchdowns and five interceptions.
Trudeau has more speed and has shown a tad more accuracy. After very limited snaps as the backup to all-league quarterback Kadin Semonza last season, Trudeau has made 65 percent of his 136 passes for 1,194 yards with 16 touchdowns and four interceptions.
“It really doesn’t matter who is out there,” wide receiver Vance Spafford said. “They are very good at different things but, at the same time, they are the same quarterback. It’s weird, but they both get the ball to me at the right time.”
Trudeau and Fahey have played in all 13 games this season, alternating drives no matter the score. Johnson said that both are able to stay in the game that way.
“If one just plays one quarter, then they could check out,” Johnson said. “Let’s say the opposing team goes on an eight or nine minute drive, then that quarterback would just get one drive that quarter. It works better this way.”
Johnson got the idea from Corona Centennial head coach Matt Logan.
He remembered the time that Logan’s Huskies put up 65 points on St. John Bosco when Johnson was an assistant coach.
Logan showed the strategy again when Centennial scored 62 points on Mission Viejo a few years ago in the CiF-SS Div. 1 quarterfinals using quarterbacks Isreal Carter and Carson Conklin.
“If that worked against a very good defense, I knew I could do it here,” Johnson said. “Matt Logan is a great coach, and I don’t have as many rings as he does.”
When Fahey and Trudeau got the news at the beginning of the season that they were both going to share the role, Johnson wasn’t sure how they would respond.
They embraced the decision with open arms.
“We have both played really well. The energy we have flows through each other,” Fahey said. “It has really kept us going this year.”
Only one quarterback might be on the field at a time, but that doesn’t mean the other isn’t helping out. Trudeau and Fahey’s communication with each other has gone so well that the quarterback on the sideline provides coaching on what the defense is up to.
“It really helped last week against Murrieta Valley,” Trudeau said. “I knew they were going to be in a drop eight, so I just kept screaming to him to look for it. That was his cue to take off and scramble.”
Mission Viejo knows what is at stake on Saturday. The program hasn’t won a CIF title since Bob Johnson was coach, and Servite has turned its program around.
After just one win last season, its 8-5 record includes victories over Los Alamitos, Long Beach Poly and Serra, and features a defense that shows simulated pressure.
“It looks like they are going to bring pressure but instead drooping out ends on the coverage,” Johnson said. “They are going to play really hard and we have to match that intensity.”
No one thought Mission Viejo would feature two quarterbacks this season. Their combined stats of 2,152 yards and 27 touchdowns are better than some individual performances.
More importantly, it has put the Diablos on the verge of their first CIF title in almost a decade.
So Johnson has adopted his own saying.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” Johnson said.