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‘We are a family’: Capo Valley football quickly buys into coach Sean Curtis’ culture 

Capo Valley senior running back Hayden Cook runs the ball against Tustin in 2019. Cook and quarterback Dartanyon Moussiaux will lead the Cougars this season. (Tim Peck,

MISSION VIEJO — Sean Curtis has been around his fair share of talented high school football teams. 

He has seen success every place he has coached whether it was an assistant job at Northwood, Santa Margarita, or JSerra. 

But now as the head coach of Capo Valley, he is confident that this is the tightest team he has ever coached. 

“When I was a high school player (at Northwood) I always felt that we put the team ahead of ourselves and I feel it again with this group,” Curtis said. “It is refreshing to see this team keep it together until we could get to this point.”

Capo Valley is no different than any other high school in Orange County, having to wait patiently to see if there was going to be a season or not. 

But the players didn’t wait around to get started. 

Whether it was training individually, coming together for group workouts players ran themselves or participating in club football, the Cougars never grew apart. 

“This group of seniors have really stuck with me this whole time,’ Curtis said. “There has been a lot of adversity to take on and they have never complained. They just kept faith that they were going to get this opportunity to play.” 

Running back Hayden Cook is just one of the 21 seniors on Curtis’ roster and will be continuing his career at NCAA Division II Western New Mexico next season.

He knows the Cougars have a challenging schedule with San Juan Hills, San Clemente and Mission Viejo all stacked up on their schedule, but is excited to play five more games. 

“I’ve always wanted to beat San Clemente,” Cook said with a smile. 

Capo Valley finished last season with just five wins and a loss to La Habra in the first round of the CIF-SS Division III playoffs. 

Since the loss, Curtis said his team has a better understanding of what it is trying to do on both sides of the ball, keeping in mind that there is an expectation to win. The Cougars made the CIF-SS semifinals three out of he last four years. 

“We want to keep rolling,” Curtis said. “We have a lot of experience.”

Capo Valley returns eight defensive starters and six offensive starters including quarterback Dartanyon Moussiaux. 

While Moussiaux threw for 2,139 passing yards and 20 touchdowns, he also threw 13 interceptions including three a piece against Tesoro and La Habra. 

Moussiaux said he played the offseason with OC Elite and has gotten better reading defense and his coach is excited with the improvement he has made.

“He has all the talent in the world,” Curtis said of Moussiaux. 

Other returners  include junior wide receiver Owen Taylor and senior running back Steven Salceda to round out a power-tempo offense.

“Our run game is sprinkled into just about everything we do,” Curtis said. 

Curtis might just be in his second year with the Cougars, but the culture he has created has proven to be something that has worked and his players have quickly bought into. 

And it all revolves around that tight-knit bond on the gridiron. 

“We can count on each other,” Curtis said. “We are a family.”

Capo Valley football schedule

March 19 at San Clemente

March 26 vs. San Juan Hills

April 2 at El Toro

April 9 at Trabuco Hills

April 16 vs. Aliso Niguel

Ryan was born and raised in Dana Point went to Dana Hills High School. He graduated from Sacramento State University with a BA in Journalism. Throughout his career as a sports journalist, he has covered high schools, colleges, and professional teams. After working for multiple newspapers in as many states, he came to the conclusion that what he really wanted was to make sure the high schools in his hometown area got the sports coverage they deserved. Follow him on Twitter @rskuhn

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