It did not take long for Fontana High to find out that playing in the run-oriented Citrus Belt League did not prepare its defense for a quarterback such as Santa Ana Mater Dei’s Billy Blanton.
Blanton, who completed his first eight passes, ended up throwing for three touchdowns and running for another in the Monarchs’ 46-16 victory Friday night in a Southern Section Division I quarterfinal at Santa Ana Stadium.
Blanton, a 6-foot-2 senior, showed Fontana, The Times’ No. 2-ranked Southern Section team, why he is considered the top quarterback in Southern California by completing 14 of 20 passes for 284 yards. He was pulled late in the fourth quarter.
“I don’t think anyone has (seen a quarterback such as Blanton),” said Fontana Coach Dick Bruich, whose Steelers finish the season with a 10-2 record. “There are not too many guys like that around.”
Blanton seemed unstoppable in the first half in completing 11 of his first 12 passes for 229 yards and two touchdowns. On the Monarchs’ first possession, he drove them 65 yards in six plays with Chris Ruperto scoring on a two-yard run.
On fifth-ranked Mater Dei’s second drive, Blanton passed to a wide-open David Knuff for 43 yards on a flea-flicker to give Mater Dei a 12-0 lead. When the Monarchs got the ball again, Blanton stayed on the ground for a three-yard scoring run.
He then finished the half with a 53-yard touchdown pass play to Roger Morante to give the Monarchs a 26-0 halftime lead.
“We wanted to throw the ball deep against them,” Mater Dei Coach Bruce Rollinson said. “We knew that there was no way that they had seen a passer like a Billy Blanton.”
Mater Dei opened the third quarter with a quick score when Nick Sualua ran in from a yard out. Trailing 33-0, Fontana finally scored on an eight-yard run by Richard Stephens. The Steelers then recorded a safety when Ruperto was tackled in the end zone late in the third quarter. Blanton then threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Morante to give Mater Dei a 39-8 lead.
"(Blanton) is a good quarterback, but don’t take away from his receivers,” Bruich said. “Also, their defense took us out of the game early.”
Mater Dei (11-1) will play Loyola in the semifinals Dec. 6.