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Mater Dei ends regular season in record-setting fashion

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

SANTA ANA – Mater Dei looks like it’s playing a video game.

The top-ranked Monarchs keep setting records and moving up the leaderboards.

JT Daniels threw six touchdown passes as Mater Dei rolled over JSerra, 59-7, to complete its first undefeated regular season since 1997 and clinch its first outright league title since 1999 in a Trinity League game at Santa Ana Stadium.

Mater Dei (10-0, 5-0) broke St. John Bosco’s four-year hold on the Trinity League title and will be the league’s No. 1 representative in the playoffs.

“I wanted this game badly for this team,” Mater Dei coach Bruce Rollinson said. “When you have something and you’re that close, you don’t want to screw it up. They came to play tonight. We’re pleased.”

JSerra (5-5, 1-4) waits for its possible at-large playoff fate, but the No. 7 Lions are likely to be one of the 16 teams picked from Division 1’s 18-team pool.

“I won’t know until Sunday,” JSerra coach Jim Hartigan said. “Two times before we were 7-3 and didn’t get in, so I don’t know. I’m hoping we’re in. We’re young and need a lot of experience.”

Daniels signed his name in the record books by breaking the Orange County single-season record for touchdown passes with 53. Nick Brown of Rancho Alamitos set the record with 52 through the regular season and playoffs in 2014.

Daniels also broke Matt Barkley’s 2007 Mater Dei mark for completions in a season (207) moving up to 231.

“You get in a groove, but I can’t say it’s easy,” Daniels said. “Trinity League football is Trinity League football.”

Daniels was 24 of 38 passing for 458 yards.

Osiris St. Brown, Nikko Remigio and Cameron Gardner all caught two TD passes in Daniels’ seventh career game with six or more TD passes.

St. Brown caught eight passes for 153 yards. Remigio caught five passes for 128 yards.

Mater Dei jumped on JSerra with two touchdowns in 25 seconds of possession.

Daniels hit Remigio on a 46-yard TD pass and followed it up with a 50-yard strike to St. Brown for a 14-0 lead.

JSerra found a spark on the next drive as Riley O’Brien broke free and Matt Robinson found him on a 55-yard touchdown pass. But Mater Dei found that next gear again late in the first quarter.

Gardner fought into the end zone to finish off a 44-yard touchdown pass, and Daniels got hit Remigio a second time on a 38-yard rope to close out the quarter, 28-7.

Daniels’ second TD pass to Remigio was the throw that tied Matt Barkley’s 2007 completion single-season record.

Midway through the second quarter, Kevin Vu ran in an 11-yard touchdown for a 35-7 lead.

Daniels’ fifth touchdown pass, a 40-yarder to St. Brown, tied the O.C. single-season record late in the second quarter.

Syrr Barnes scooped and scored on a 30-yard fumble recovery touchdown, and Chase McGrath hit a career-long 51-yard field goal to close out the second half with a 52-7 lead.

Mater Dei’s opening drive of the second half was capped by Daniels sixth touchdown pass as Gardner pulled in a 33-yard score for the 59-7 lead.


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