Blanton Is Almost Picture-Perfect in Mater Dei’s Upset of Eisenhower

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His statistics were outstanding. His poise, unshakable. Nearly everything he did registered high on college recruiters’ wish lists.

But none of that was really important to quarterback Billy Blanton Friday night.

In leading Mater Dei to a 35-14 victory over Eisenhower for the Division I championship at Anaheim Stadium, Blanton passed into another realm of high school football, one that has less to do with attempts and completions than it does with pride.

What a way to cap a career!

Blanton completed 15 of 25 passes for 257 yards and three touchdowns. He was intercepted once.


He did it against a team that USA Today ranked as the best in the nation since the early season, a team that hadn’t seen the likes of him anytime, anywhere.

It was nothing new, of course, to Blanton. He’s not considered the best quarterback in Southern California for nothing.

In fact, his first touchdown pass--a 49-yard double reverse fleaflicker to tight end David Knuff--gave him more than enough yardage to surpass the Orange County single-season record set by Trabuco Hills David Lowery in 1988. Blanton finished with 3,545 yards for his career.

But, as usual, Blanton wasn’t thinking of himself after the game.

“I knew we could do it,” Blanton said. “I knew if we played at 100% we could do it.”

Last year, against Eisenhower in the Division I quarterfinals, Blanton burned the Eagles who keyed on running back Derek Sparks. This time, Eisenhower seemed to think it was prepared for Blanton’s ability.

It wasn’t.

On his first touchdown pass, Blanton handed the ball to running back Chris Ruperto, who gave it to wide receiver Roger Morante who flipped it back to Blanton. Blanton hit Knuff for the 49-yard scoring pass for a 6-0 Mater Dei lead.

His next touchdown pass, with 3:07 left in the first half, was another beauty. Blanton found Morante open in the end zone for a 33-yard scoring play. Mater Dei led, 14-6.


His final one pushed Mater Dei’s lead to 35-14. From the Eagle 34, Blanton rolled to his right, pump faked, and lofted the ball to Morante, who caught it in the end zone. Mater Dei 35, Eisenhower 14.

Blanton wasn’t alone in earning the credit. Morante had five catches for 107 yards. Knuff had six for 96.

Blanton made a few mistakes--Marcus Soward intercepted him in the third quarter; Blanton fumbled later in the fourth--but for the most part, it was the best night of his life.

Two weeks ago against Fontana, Blanton passed for 282 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for another score. In the first half, he had completed 11 of 14 passes for 232 yards.

Eisenhower, which plays in the same Citrus Belt League as Fontana, knew what was coming.

They just couldn’t do much to stop it.