Head coach Coley Candaele's guys are reigning Division II CIF champions, currently ranked No. 3 in the state and No. 11 in the nation in one poll.
Some of Candaele's players say he doesn't like to hear about rankings and shakes his head at them, and it appears they may be right.
"The reality is we have to be the best football team we possibly can," Candaele said. "If we play at the best, highest level, we'll be playing for a long time."
Candaele's team wins more games than most and has more fun than most. On wacky Wednesdays, there's USC Trojan-to-be Su'a Cravens wearing a Rasta wig, players in referee uniforms and a lineman in a Peyton Manning jersey with a mohawk on his helmet. Not to mention a coach who likes to mix it up with his players.
"He's so interactive. He runs the scout team offense and makes our defense better. He definitely will run down the whole field and rub it in the (Murrieta) defense's face if he scores on them," said Murrieta quarterback Nick Stevens.
In this day of increasing head injuries and the NFL's increased emphasis on player safety, Candaele and his coaches have strict testing after concussions. They also stress proper tackling technique.
"We constantly remind the kids, if you see what you're going to hit, you're going to be all right," Candaele said.
"This game of football is great," he added. "(Football) lasts for four years in high school, but we want these kids to be able to play sports and have families and do everything for the rest of their life."
Since arriving at Vista Murrieta 10 years ago, Candaele has preached to his players the importance of preparation, family and character. He and his staff showed their character and integrity last season when they discovered a typo on the transcript of a player who transferred from out of state.
They called the CIF and forfeited their first five games, then ran the table to a CIF championship.
Vista Murrieta's Candaele is the ABC7-NFL High School Coach of the Week.