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Mater Dei marches past Tesoro with LaMarche, freshman QB
SANTA ANA – A couple of years from now, it might be remembered as the game in which JT Daniels made his freshman debut as Mater Dei’s quarterback.
Now, though, it will stand as a game in which Brandon LaMarche again carried the offensive load and the defense was mean and nasty again.
Mater Dei beat Tesoro, 35-14, Friday at Santa Ana Stadium. LaMarche rushed for 205 yards and four touchdowns. The Monarchs defense recorded eight sacks.
Monarchs linebacker Jedidiah Smith had 16 tackles, including a sack, and blocked a punt. Another linebacker, Curtis Robinson, had two sacks, and linebacker Fa’avae Fa’avae had 21/2 sacks.
Daniels replaced junior starting quarterback Matt McDonald late in the first quarter after McDonald, who is right-handed, suffered a left forearm injury that Monarchs coach Bruce Rollinson said was a fracture.
Daniels started rough, throwing an interception on his second varsity pass. But he settled down, finishing 8 for 12 for 146 yards and a touchdown. LaMarche, who rushed for 133 yards and 3 touchdowns in the Monarchs’ win over Bishop Amat last week, and the Mater Dei offensive line gave the freshman ample support.
Daniels’ 44-yard touchdown pass to Christopher Parks late in the third quarter gave the Monarchs a two-touchdown lead.
Rollinson remembered a Mater Dei starting freshman quarterback of a few years ago, Matt Barkley. And, or course, he was asked to compare Daniels to Barkley.
“He’s cerebral like Matt was,” Rollinson said. “To me, just the fact this is a 15-year-old coming off the bench … well, time will tell.”
Mater Dei is 2-0. The Monarchs, No. 1 in the Register’s Orange County rankings and No. 4 in CalHiSports.com’s California rankings, beat Bishop Amat of La Puente last week.
Tesoro, No. 5 in the county poll, is 1-1. The Titans beat Edison last week.
Mater Dei’s defensive assignment was to control Tesoro senior quarterback Devon Modster. Modster, who committed to Arizona, threw for 249 yards and two touchdowns and ran for three touchdowns against Edison. On Friday, he carried 19 times for minus-4 yards; in high school football, sacks go against a quarterback’s rushing totals and the eight sacks accounted for 66 yards lost.
“That was our game plan,” Fa’avae said. “We didn’t see anybody else on their team who could threaten us, so we attacked Modster.”
Modster scored both Tesoro touchdowns on runs of 18 and 6 yards. He completed 24 of 35 passes for 211 yards.
Mater Dei had a 14-7 lead at halftime. The Monarchs made it 21-7 on a 1-yard touchdown run by La Marche. Modster scored on a 6-yard run to cut the lead to 21-14.
That’s when Daniels connected with sophomore Parks for the 44-yard touchdown pass to extend Mater Dei’s lead to 28-14. Daniels slipped away from two tackles in the backfield, rolled right, stopped and lofted the ball to Parks who was open behind coverage.
LaMarche completed the scoring on a 5-yard touchdown run with four minutes left in the game.
Tesoro took a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter on an 18-yard run by Modster. Modster ran around the left side and got a great seal-off block by receiver Tyler King.
Mater Dei drove to the Tesoro 21 where again the Monarchs were stopped on fourth down. Chris Evagues, who had five sacks in Tesoro’s win over Edison last week, brought down LaMarche for no gain.
But the Titans’ ensuing possession was disastrous. Forced to punt from their 16, Titans punter Hayden McGinnis could not hang on to the snap and fell on the football at the Tesoro 1. LaMarche scooted around the right side on Mater Dei’s first play there for a touchdown that made it 7-7.
The Monarchs took a 14-7 lead on LaMarche’s 73-yard run late in the second quarter. Mater Dei took that seven-point lead into the third quarter.
Tesoro plays at home against Upland, this week ranked No. 7 in the CIF-SS Western Division, next Friday. The Titans play their South Coast League opener at home against El Toro on Oct. 9.
Mater Dei plays at La Mirada next Friday. La Mirada lost last week to St. John Bosco, like Mater Dei at Trinity League team, 76-8. Mater Dei’s Trinity League opener is against Orange Lutheran on Oct. 9 at Orange Coast College.
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