It was a game that would determine who would stay alive and who would most likely be eliminated from Angelus League playoff contention. Mater Dei and Bishop Montgomery each came into Thursday night’s game 0-1 in league play.
Bishop Montgomery has had only 4 league victories in the past 3 years, and that statistic didn’t change Thursday night.
Despite a shaky start, Mater Dei won, 21-7, in its homecoming game in Santa Ana Stadium.
The Monarchs improved to 3-4. Bishop Montgomery is 4-3.
Mater Dei quarterback Danny O’Neil, fifth in the county in passing, fumbled twice on the Monarchs’ first series, but Mater Dei recovered both. On its next series, O’Neil drove Mater Dei 73 yards for a touchdown on a 1-yard run by Kealii Clifford to make it 7-0.
The drive included a 31-yard pass to Chip Packard that perched the Monarchs on the Knights’ 1 for a first and goal.
Packard had 3 receptions for 63 yards, statistics that teammate Tony Pena appreciated.
“Chip came through with some great catches, and that takes a lot of pressure off me,” said Pena, the county’s leading receiver with 16.6 yards per catch. He had 6 catches for 88 yards Thursday, and Mater Dei wasn’t even going to him because of expected double coverage, Coach Chuck Gallo said.
In the second quarter, Mater Dei’s defense forced Bishop Montgomery to punt from its end zone, giving the Monarchs the ball on the Bishop Montgomery 34. Six plays later, David Barry scored on a 5-yard run to give Mater Dei a 14-0 halftime lead.
In the third quarter, Bishop Montgomery’s Darius Watson intercepted an O’Neil pass at the Bishop Montgomery 42 and ran 16 yards to set up the Knights’ only score, a 2-yard run by Richard Jones.
Mater Dei’s final score came on Clifford’s 10-yard run with 53 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
O’Neil completed 11 of 22 passes for 167 yards.