Mater Dei Rolls Past Hawthorne
Yes, the standards at Mater Dei are high.
A 24-0 victory over Hawthorne, in front of about 3,500 at Hawthorne High, had all the earmarks of Monarch football at its finest:
--Running back Mike McNair powered his way to 165 yards and two touchdowns--including a 31-yarder during which he shook off four tackles.
--Quarterback John Leonard passed for 99 yards.
--The Monarch defense held the opposition to 118 total yards.
And yet, Coach Bruce Rollinson still wasn’t satisfied--at least with his offense.
“I’m frustrated by the offense right now,” Rollinson said. “We’re still young in some spots and it showed tonight.
“We will get better. I know what we’re capable of, and I’ll get excited when we are operating on all eight cylinders.”
The defensive unit provided Rollinson with no such concerns. It has given up only one touchdown in three games. On Friday, the Monarchs held fleet running back Brandy Russell to 34 yards in seven carries and harassed Hawthorne quarterback Andre Cummings into a five-for-20 effort for 41 yards.
Shining on defense was cornerback Alex Romero, who had an interception and fumble recovery, setting up two short touchdown drives. His game was even more remarkable, considering he spent the day in Tustin, attending two funerals--for his great uncle, whom he identified as “Papa” Martinez, and a cousin, Jugo Martinez.
“I wanted to dedicate the game to them,” Romero said. “I wanted to think they were watching me tonight.”
Hawthorne Coach Dan Robbins said for his team to upset the defending Division I champions, it would have to use its speed, not make mistakes and not give up any cheap touchdowns.
Oh yeah, and slow down McNair.
“We don’t think McNair has been tested or tackled yet this season,” Robbins said. “We hope to introduce him to both.”
It didn’t turn out that way in the first half for Hawthorne.
After Romero’s 35-yard return of the opening kickoff, the Monarchs (3-0) traveled 53 yards, capped by McNair’s two-yard touchdown run.
On the Cougars’ first possession, Cummings had a pass intercepted at the 42 by Romero, who ran it back to the Hawthorne 11. McNair was stopped for a yard loss, but Leonard then fired a 12-yard touchdown pass to Ismael Lopez. A two-point conversion pass to Gerald Fane put Mater Dei ahead 14-0.
Hawthorne sacked Leonard three times and intercepted one pass, but the closest its offense got to scoring was the Mater Dei 17.