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Mater Dei no match for St. John Bosco
BELLFLOWER – Mater Dei pulled the tricks plays from its playbook early and often.
The Monarchs also welcomed back linebacker/receiver Ben Humphreys and their sideline drummers to prime time.
Second-ranked Mater Dei didn't have leading rushing Justin Allen (ankle) but the Monarchs threw everything else it had at St. John Bosco on Friday night.
But the Braves' defense and running back Sean McGrew fired back harder.
St. John Bosco didn't allow Mater Dei inside its 27-yard line, and McGrew scored two first-half touchdowns to help the host Braves secure a second straight, outright Trinity League title with a 24-2 victory in front of a packed crowd.
The loss by Mater Dei (7-2, 2-2) coupled with a few other results sets up a potential game for second place next week between the Monarchs and Orange Lutheran (7-2, 2-2). Servite also is 2-2 in league but closes at St. John Bosco (9-0, 4-0), ranked No. 1 in the Pac-5 Division and No. 2 in the state by CalHiSports.com.
“Now it's about getting into the playoffs,” Mater Dei coach Bruce Rollinson said. “I'm really pleased with our kids. They got off the mat from a really subpar performance last week (in a loss against Santa Margarita) and they battled. That's a good football team. … I thought we went toe to toe with them pretty good, but you have to get a little more offense generated.”
Humphreys (knee) played for the first time since Sept. 20 and produced a sack, a tackle for a loss, a pass breakup and a touchdown-saving tackle on speedy Jaleel Wadood's 60-yard run on the final play of the first quarter.
But with Allen on crutches, the Braves held Mater Dei to 95 rushing yards on 26 attempts (3.7 yards per carry) and limited quarterback Chase Forrest to 33 passing yards in the second half. Forrest racked up 120 of his 153 yards in the first half.
"They've got powerful kids up front," Rollinson said of Bosco's defense. "They situational substituted real good and they had a good scheme. They didn't blitz us a lot. That front-four made some key plays."
McGrew, a speedy sophomore, scored on the Braves' final two possessions of the first half as the Braves led, 14-2. In the second quarter, he broke a 49-yard touchdown run and shifted to receiver on a 33-yard TD catch from quarterback Josh Rosen.
McGrew's TD catch, on a quick out pass, arrived with 59 seconds left in the half. He finished with 137 yards rushing on 18 carries.
St. John Bosco opened the second half by driving 80 yards for a 5-yard TD run by Wadood, a Cal commit.
On its opening possession of the game, the Monarchs ran a reverse for wideout Jonathan Lockett and tried to catch the Braves sleeping with a fake punt. But Mater Dei's London Iakopo's run on fourth-and-3 from his 27 came up 1 yard short of a first down.
Mater Dei's defense responded by recovering a fumble at its 7 on the ensuing possession.
Mater Dei sparked its next drive by calling a flea-flicker for Lockett. The Washington committed hauled in a 41-yard reception from Forrest to move the ball to Braves’ 40. The drive stalled but Mater Dei’s defense stayed hot by forcing a quick punt. The Braves sailed the snap from their 23 over the punter, who kicked the ball out of the end zone for a safety as Mater Dei took a 2-0 lead with 3:17 left in the first.
Lockett forced a second red-zone turnover on the first play of the second quarter with an interception in the back of the end zone as he blanketed USC commit Shay Fields. But like the fumble recovery, Mater Dei couldn’t capitalize.
Lockett also finished with three receptions for 89 yards and 54 yards in kickoff returns.
The Monarchs' deepest penetration into St. John Bosco territory was the 27 in the fourth quarter. Mater Dei started that drive at the Braves' 36 after safety Johnny Johnson blocked a punt but the Monarchs turned the ball over on downs.
The Braves had some issues in the punt game but only committed one penalty for 5 yards.
Next week, Mater Dei plays the Lancers at Orange Coast College.
"If we can bring the same kind of emotion (as tonight), and same kind of focus during the week, we'll see how it ends up in Week 10," Rollinson said.
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