SANTA ANA – It’s hard to imagine just how good Mater Dei will be when it is injury free, because right now, the Monarchs are pretty good.
For the third consecutive week, the nation’s No. 1-ranked team – according to USA Today’s Super 25 high school rankings – recorded its third consecutive blowout victory, this time a 42-0 triumph over La Mirada in a nonleague game Friday night, Sept. 8, at Santa Ana Stadium.
In its three consecutive victories to start the season, Mater Dei (3-0) has outscored its opponents, 108-28. But the Monarchs’ next two opponents – Bergen Catholic of New Jersey (ranked No. 17 in the nation) and St. Mary’s of Stockton, the top–ranked team in the Sac-Joaquin Section – promise to be more difficult to handle.
“I thought we were off a little, but we took care of what we had to get done and now we have to regroup and get ready for a national power,” said Monarchs coach Bruce Rollinson.
“Off” is subjective, considering Mater Dei marched down the field with ease at times in handing La Mirada its third consecutive loss to start the season. The Monarchs scored on their first six possessions of the first half, despite committing 13 penalties for 136 yards.
“I got frustrated with all of those flags … but we’ll clean it up,” said Rollinson.
Monarchs junior quarterback JT Daniels completed 13 of 15 passes for 248 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. Daniels, last season’s Orange County offensive player of the year, has thrown for 842 yards over three games.
Daniels’ favorite target was again Nikko Remigio, who caught six passes for 152 yards and three touchdowns of 40, 28 and 50 yards. Chris Street added four receptions for 51 yards.
Daniels initiated the scoring on Mater Dei’s first offensive play, surprising the home crowd with his artistry afoot when he faked a handoff to running back Shakobe Harper and zigzagged through the Matadores defense for a 60-yard touchdown.
“Nobody expects him to keep the ball,” said Rollinson, “but the read was there and he did the right thing.”
Ahead 21-0 after consecutive touchdown passes to Remigio, Mater Dei struck again on the ground on a 62-yard touchdown run by Harper. It was Harper’s last carry of the night, as he finished with 69 yards on three carries.
Syrr Barnes capped off a four-play, 45-yard drive with a 2-yard run minutes later, before Daniels completed the scoring with a 50-yard strike to Remigio.
The Monarchs played without…