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De La Salle Extends Its Streak by Holding Off Mater Dei, 31-28

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Just over two minutes remained Saturday night at Edison Field and Santa Ana Mater Dei controlled not only its own destiny but that of Concord De La Salle’s national-record winning streak.

The Monarchs had the ball at their own 10-yard line, 90 yards separating them from a victory for the ages.

But after moving the ball to the Spartan 16, Mater Dei kicker Bryan New pulled a 34-yard field-goal attempt to the left with 33 seconds left and De La Salle pulled out a 31-28 victory before 15,000 to stretch its winning streak to 103 games.

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“This was a great high school football game,” Mater Dei Coach Bruce Rollinson said. “It could have turned into a rout, but we didn’t let it. I thought we were going to win this football game.”

De La Salle won its third game in a row over the Monarchs in the battle of powers from Northern and Southern California.

But to do it, De La Salle (3-0) had to sustain a spirited Mater Dei rally after leading, 31-14, heading into the fourth quarter.

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Mater Dei quarterback Matt Leinart, who completed 25 of 40 passes for 401 yards and four touchdowns, moved the Monarchs (2-1) furiously down field on their last possession, converting two fourth downs along the way before the drive stalled.

Leinart had connected with receiver Brian Panique for two fourth-quarter touchdowns to pull the Monarchs to within three points.

De La Salle, which led 21-14 at halftime, took a 31-14 lead in the third quarter on James Bloomsburgh’s 24-yard field goal and a 34-yard touchdown reception by Demetrius Williams.

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Mater Dei, blown out by the Spartans 42-0 last year, rebounded from a 21-0 first-quarter deficit and scored two touchdowns in the second quarter.

The Monarchs, who had gained 37 yards in the first quarter, drove 74 yards on their first possession of the second quarter. Leinart faked two handoffs before hitting receiver Jeff Diulio over the middle for a 40-yard touchdown-pass play to make the score 21-7.

Mater Dei linebacker Ian Gunderman intercepted a pass by quarterback Matt Gutierrez on De La Salle’s next drive, and seven plays later Leinart found Matt Haugen standing alone in the corner of the end zone for a five-yard touchdown strike to pull the Monarchs to within 21-14.

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De La Salle’s first two touchdowns were set up by big plays. Jonathan Tucker returned a punt 59 yards to the Monarch 16, setting up Kevin Simon’s 14-yard touchdown run to give De La Salle a 7-0 lead.

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