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Mater Dei freshman Daniels plays like a veteran
LA MIRADA – Training wheels are overrated.
At least that’s the impression you might get if you watched freshman quarterback JT Daniels operate Mater Dei’s offense in his first career varsity start Friday night.
The Monarchs youngster played anything like a pup, throwing five of his six touchdown passes in the first half as top-ranked Mater Dei went on the road and throttled host La Mirada, 42-7, in a nonleague contest.
Daniels completed 17 of 25 passes for 292 yards in 2 1/2 quarters, all career-highs for the promising young signal caller who played years beyond his age.
“The kid has got great football sense and he’s one of those cerebral type of kids who just gets it,” Mater Dei coach Bruce Rollinson said. “I was really pleased with his performance. He read the coverages. He had a couple of boo-boos, but for a freshman, I think I’ll forgive him for two misreads and a couple of overthrows.”
Mater Dei (3-0) scored touchdowns on five of its seven first-half possessions. Senior wide receiver AJ Collins grabbed Daniels’ first two touchdown strikes from 6 and 7 yards out, and closed the half with a 22-yard receiving touchdown – the freshman’s fifth of the season.
Christopher Parks and Osiris St. Brown also hauled in second-quarter TD passes of 16 and 11 yards, respectively.
“That was awesome,” Daniels said after the game. “I got a great team around me. Everyone helped me feel like it was just a normal game, and I just did my thing.
“Coach (Dave) Money got me prepared for the game. The receivers did their thing, offensive line did their thing, and it made everything easy.”
Daniels’ final touchdown pass came on the Monarchs’ opening drive of the third quarter. The freshman connected with sophomore Amon-ra St. Brown over the middle on a dig route, and the Servite transfer proceeded to outrace the defenders en route to a 66-yard score, extending Mater Dei’s lead to 42-7.
La Mirada dropped to 1-2 on the season, with both losses coming against Trinity League opponents. The Matadores lost to St. John Bosco, 76-8, in Week 0.
Running back Sei-j Lauago’s 75-yard rushing touchdown proved to be La Mirada’s lone score, coming just 44 seconds after Mater Dei grabbed an initial 7-0 lead.
The Monarchs defense was stellar otherwise, holding La Mirada’s two quarterbacks to just two completions and 7 yards passing.
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