Mater Dei waved goodbye to the South Coast League in scary fashion Friday night as it dominated seventh-ranked Trabuco Hills, 38-21, before about 6,000 at Trabuco Hills.
The second-ranked Monarchs (9-1, 6-0) clinched their seventh South Coast League title in seven years behind the passing combination of Scott Lukash to Kelvin Millhouse and the defensive play of free safety Matt Grootegoed.
Trabuco Hills (8-1-1, 3-1-1) tied for second place with San Clemente, but the Mustangs won a coin flip after the game and will represent the league as its second-place team.
Trabuco Hills didn’t have much luck during the game with Lukash, who was barely pressured all night. He completed 18 of 22 passes for 337 yards and five touchdowns. Millhouse caught 10 passes for 222 yards, including three of the touchdown passes.
“Everything was on the line tonight,” said Millhouse, whose scoring catches were from 56, 22 and 34 yards. “We needed the win so we could get a good seeding, and this was our last year in the South Coast, so we wanted to go out with a bang.”
No one went out with more of a bang than Millhouse, who beat the Trabuco Hills secondary over the middle on underneath routes, deep on fly routes and in the flat on quick outs. Millhouse sent word to the Trabuco Hills secondary early when he flew past everyone and caught a perfectly thrown 56-yard scoring pass on the sixth play from scrimmage.
Trabuco Hills’ defense seemed frozen all night by Lukash’s play fakes, which allowed Mater Dei’s receivers to run free in the middle of the zone all night. By halftime, Mater Dei had built a 24-7 lead and Lukash had thrown for 248 yards.
“We lost a tackle in the first half and that made it real tough on the defensive line,” Trabuco Hills Coach Bill Crow said. “When we stopped the run, they passed and when we tried to stop the pass, they ran. They’ve got a heck of a team.”
Mater Dei Coach Bruce Rollinson was beaming over the performance of Lukash.
“Scotty had the time and he set up and threw the football very well,” Rollinson said. “He showed some real poise in the pocket tonight.”
Trabuco Hills rebounded from Millhouse’s opening score quickly when quarterback Brandon Heaney faked a pitch on the option and sprinted 77 yards for a touchdown. But the Mustangs did not cross midfield the rest of the half.
The second half mostly belonged to Grootegoed, who had at least a dozen tackles after intermission. He had several bone-jarring hits on Trabuco Hills running back Al Gandall, who carried 23 times for 125 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown.
“They say he’s a safety, but he’s really a linebacker,” Crow said of Grootegoed. “He was all over the field tonight.”
Said Grootegoed: “They ran a different offense in the second half and that freed me up to make a lot of tackles. The way I play free safety is I like to go up and meet the action rather than waiting for it to come to me.”
MORE SOUTH COAST LEAGUE
Playoff-bound San Clemente defeated Capistrano Valley, 21-14. Page 12