Mater Dei routs Centennial in season opener
There were so many video cameras on the field at Santa Ana Stadium on Friday night that you could have easily imagined everyone as a prop for a coming movie.
A camera crew was following Santa Ana Mater Dei quarterback Bryce Young as part of filming for Season 4 of “QB1: Beyond the Lights.” Hudl flew in its own crew to document the game between the No.1 Monarchs and No.3 Corona Centennial.
Then there was Mater Dei coach Bruce Rollinson being honored before the game for winning his 300th game last season. The cameras were rolling as he took the microphone, gave a brief speech and roared in his gravel voice, “It’s about rock ’n’ roll, baby!”
The Monarchs are certainly rolling. They scored five touchdowns in the first half, forced three interceptions and unveiled a group of talented young players en route to a dominating 42-12 victory over Centennial that included a running clock in the fourth quarter.
“For a first game, I learned a lot about this football team,” Rollinson said. “We just have to keep getting better.”
Young, a USC commit, completed his first eight passes and was 12 for 15 passing for 134 yards and two touchdowns when Mater Dei opened a 35-0 halftime lead.
He finished 19 of 26 for 191 yards and three touchdowns.
His only mistake was an interception in the end zone by Jaden Mickey. Otherwise, he was making pinpoint passes that Centennial had no answer for.
Kody Epps caught a one-yard touchdown pass on a slant, Kyron Ware-Hudson made a 15-yard scoring catch and Cristian Dixon had an eight-yard touchdown catch.
The Monarchs’ defense, led by junior linebacker Raesjon Davis, stopped Centennial drives at the four- and two-yard lines. Linebacker Ray Leutele returned an interception six yards for a touchdown.
Mater Dei went 17 consecutive years without winning a Southern Section championship until going unbeaten in 2017 behind quarterback JT Daniels. Young then led the Monarchs to a championship last season.
This season, the roster is so filled with young talent that the Monarchs unleashed a stunning group of sophomores and juniors.
“Freshman team, baby,” Rollinson said.
Sophomore defensive backs Cameron Sidney and Josh Hunter each contributed interceptions.
Sophomore linebacker David Bailey had a sack. Sophomore running back Quincy Craig ran 57 yards for a touchdown. Freshman offensive lineman BJ Tolo started at offensive guard and more than held his own against what is supposed to be a good Centennial defensive line.
“We came in with the right mind-set to dominate,” Mater Dei offensive lineman Tai Marks said.
Floyd Nicholas ran for both Centennial touchdowns in the fourth quarter to extend the Huskies’ scoring streak to 295 consecutive games.
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