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Mater Dei defensive lineman Malik McMorris, right, and linebacker Grant Moore sack Santa Monica quarterback Rudy Olmedo during the first half of Friday's game, which was played at Santa Monica College.

Mater Dei punches way to another shutout


SANTA MONICA – Santa Monica coach Travis Clark compared playing Mater Dei to boxing against the impenetrable Mike Tyson at the end of the old “Mike Tyson's Punch Out!!” video game.

He thought his team stayed off the mat against the bigger, stronger Monarchs, even when the score was lopsided. But he recognized why Mater Dei is so highly ranked.

“They're the last guy,” Clark said. “I think that team is, maybe, a state title team.”

No. 2 Mater Dei's defense recorded its second consecutive shutout, forcing four turnovers in a 37-0 victory in a nonleague game at Santa Monica College. The Monarchs' defense set the tone when sophomore Curtis Robinson returned a fumble 31 yards for the first score of the game, and allowed just 40 yards of offense in the first half. Quarterback Chase Forrest threw for 162 yards and ran for two scores as well.

The Monarchs (4-0) drove to the Santa Monica 23-yard line on the opening drive of the game but could not convert on fourth down and turned the ball over, eliciting some early excitement from the Santa Monica (2-1) sideline. But Mater Dei regained command of the game when it forced Vikings running back Kwame Diggs to fumble. Robinson scooped it and ran for the score.

“Physically, we started getting control of it,” Mater Dei coach Bruce Rollinson said.

Late in the first half, with Mater Dei up 14-0, Forrest took the ball on a quarterback keeper and dove for the corner of the end zone, waving the ball inside the right pylon for a 9-yard touchdown. The score put the Monarchs ahead 21-0 at the half.

Forrest completed 11 of 23 passes, one of which went for a score, and he ran for two touchdowns as well. His passing numbers would have been even stronger had it not been for a litany of dropped passes.

“He was on it tonight,” Rollinson said.

The defense buckled down even more in the second half, not allowing a first down in the third quarter. Linebacker Grant Moore recovered a fumble, leading to a Malik McMorris touchdown two plays later. Then Adam Davis came down with an interception, the second pick of the night for the Monarchs.

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