Mater Dei is one on top
Almost every seat at Santa Ana Stadium was filled Thursday night for a high school football game matching the top two teams in the state. And what a classic game it was, No. 1 Santa Ana Mater Dei and No. 2 Corona Centennial going back-and-forth, answering each other touchdown for touchdown.
You needed a calculator instead of binoculars to watch this one, as each team gained more than 600 yards in offense. When time finally ran out, Mater Dei had come away with an exhausting but exhilarating 51-37 victory.
The Monarchs’ junior quarterback, Matt Barkley, completed 21 of 32 passes for 365 yards and two touchdowns. Centennial running back Ryan Bass rushed for 324 yards in 43 carries and scored four touchdowns.
Centennial quarterback Matt Scott rushed for 176 yards and passed for 179 yards. Mater Dei running back Robert Mojica gained 151 yards and scored two touchdowns, and teammate Jaron Hytche added 107 yards rushing and three touchdowns.
Robbie Boyer caught nine passes for 186 of Mater Dei’s 621 total yards. Centennial totaled 679. It was a state record for total yards in a game, according to CalHiSports.com
“We made enough big plays to win the football game,” Mater Dei Coach Bruce Rollinson said.
It was a wild shootout in the second half, with each offense seemingly unstoppable. Mater Dei had the ball four times to start the second half and scored four touchdowns. Centennial had the ball four times and scored three touchdowns.
Centennial took its first lead on the opening drive of the third quarter, going 90 yards in 11 plays, with Bass scoring on a 12-yard run for a 24-23 advantage.
Mater Dei immediately came back with a 58-yard, six-play drive. Hytche scored on a 20-yard run for a 29-24 Monarchs lead. Then Centennial went 97 yards in 14 plays, Bass scoring from the one for a 30-29 Huskies lead.
Again, Mater Dei responded with an 80-yard drive, Hytche scoring on a one-yard run, then a two-point conversion for a 37-30 Mater Dei lead. And the third quarter wasn’t even over yet.
A Bass fumble with 1:31 left in the third quarter on the Centennial 30 gave Mater Dei its opening. Hytche ended up scoring his third touchdown, a one-yard run, for a 44-30 Mater Dei advantage.
Centennial will look back on a recovered Mater Dei fumble on a kickoff in the third quarter as a turning point. The Huskies had the ball on Mater Dei’s 28, but the officials ruled off-setting face mask penalties and the ball was re-kicked.
It was as well played a first half of football as one could find at the high school level in Southern California, with Mater Dei holding a 23-17 lead.