On dominant night time, Mater Dei caps unbeaten season with Open Division state bowl title

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Mission Viejo, CA - December 11: Mater Dei quarterback Elijah Brown, right, celebrates Mater Dei wide receiver Cooper Barkate's touchdown against San Mateo Serra in the first quarter, part of the "2021 CIF State Football Championship Bowl Games - Open Division" tournament in Saddleback College, Mission Viejo, CA on Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Mater Dei quarterback Elijah Brown (12) and receiver Cooper Barkate (18) rejoice after connecting for a landing in opposition to San Mateo Serra on Saturday within the CIF Open Division state bowl sport. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Occasions)

It was a Saturday night time to cherish for Santa Ana Mater Dei sports activities followers. The night started with the announcement in New York that quarterback Bryce Younger, class of 2020, had gained the Heisman Trophy, changing into the third Monarch to win school soccer’s most prestigious award. Then, at Saddleback Faculty, the Monarchs accomplished an unbeaten soccer season to win a legendary nationwide title with a 44-7 victory over San Mateo Serra within the CIF state championship Open Division bowl sport.

From late August, when Mater Dei (12-0) began the season touring to Texas and routed Duncanville, to a cool, cloudless last night in December, when the Monarchs confirmed their superiority on each side of the ball, there have been few groups able to providing a problem. Highly effective offensive and defensive traces, a sophomore quarterback who’s 17-0 as a starter and ability place gamers with pace and expertise separated the Monarchs.

USC-bound working again Raleek Brown had landing runs of 1, three and 15 yards. Quarterback Elijah Brown accomplished 18 of 25 passes for 243 yards and two touchdowns.

The domination started early in opposition to outmanned Serra (11-2), the Northern California consultant that took a constitution airplane to the Southland. Elijah Brown linked with Cooper Barkate in full stride for a 78-yard landing. Then Malaki Te’o returned an interception 21 yards for a landing for a 14-0 lead. Then Tanner Williams stripped the ball and Joshua Hunter recovered it on the Serra three. Raleek Brown scored on a one-yard run for a 21-0 lead.

The power of Mater Dei’s protection has been its agile, fast linebackers. David Bailey, a Stanford commit, and Te’o use their pace to fill holes and aggressively assault ball carriers. They’re constant tacklers and barely make errors. They’ve been that method for 4 months.

“The protection is the perfect I’ve ever seen,” Serra coach Patrick Walsh stated.

And Elijah Brown’s play simply provides to a storied quarterback historical past at Mater Dei with two years of highschool left.

“I bought to see him develop and adapt by means of my eyes and the sky is the restrict with him,” Barkate stated. “He’s solely going to get higher.”

Mater Dei has been experiencing a expertise surge, serving to clarify the way it has gained state bowl championships 3 times within the final 5 years beneath coach Bruce Rollinson, who has a 329-86-2 file in 33 seasons.

However Rollinson’s program has come beneath scrutiny for off-the-field points. For 2 weeks, there have been revelations in court docket paperwork from lawsuits about Mater Dei soccer gamers partaking in violent habits, resulting in the college and Diocese of Orange attempting to counter the allegations with guarantees of an investigation into security practices and a dedication from faculty president Father Walter E. Jenkins that “all points will probably be dealt with persistently and in accordance with the core values of our establishment.”

It was on the eve of the Southern Part Division 1 last that the household of a former soccer participant filed a lawsuit alleging he suffered a traumatic mind harm in a locker room hazing incident final February by which gamers punched one another. One other lawsuit got here to gentle from a 2019 incident by which soccer gamers allegedly attacked a Mater Dei basketball participant off campus.

Mater Dei coach Bruce Rollinson is hoisted on the shoulders of his team after winning the CIF Open Division state title.

Mater Dei coach Bruce Rollinson is hoisted on the shoulders of his staff after successful the CIF Open Division state championship bowl sport on Saturday night time at Saddleback Faculty. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Occasions)

Rollinson has declined to remark. The offseason now begins with uncertainty as to the place issues are headed.

Attendance for 5 bowl video games held at Saddleback Faculty was 13,923, together with 9,203 for 3 video games on Saturday.

This story initially appeared in Los Angeles Occasions.

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