The game: Appeared as if it was going to live up to the lofty expectations early. Servite’s defense did what no other team since Tesoro (on Sept. 4) was able to do against Mater Dei quarterback JT Daniels – bait the young freshman into tossing an interception. Daniels’ second attempt of the game was picked by linebacker Sammy Duarte which resulted in a Friars field goal. Mater Dei stormed back with a 5-play, 65-yard drive and took a 7-3 lead. Aaron Simpson would march Servite deep into Mater Dei territory minutes later, hitting Terrell Bynum on a sweet pass-and-catch inside the Monarch 5-yard line. That’s when the yellow laundry appeared. An ineligible man downfield negated the 26-yard strike and forced Servite into attempting 48-yard field goal that sailed way left.
Servite’s next two possessions resulted in a pair of turnover, and a tight 7-3 game suddenly became 21-3, and was 28-3 by the half.
Key to the game: Roman Kafentzis’ pick-six and Jed Smith’s fumble recovery in the second quarter. The game really was competitive for the first 15 minutes. But when Kafentzis returned a Simpson pass 62-yards in the opposite direction, and Smith scooped up a fumble and returned in 38 yards deep into Servite territory, the game soon became all scarlet and grey. The Monarchs scored 14 points off the Friar miscues.
Players of the game: LaMarche andSmith. The Monarchs captains are (generously) listed at 5-foot-10 and 5-foot-9 in the game program. Regardless of their size, no two dudes play with more tenacity than the Mater Dei running back and linebacker. LaMarche ran for 130 yards in the first half, and finished with 160. Smith had a fumble recovery, a sack and constantly chased down Simpson and the Servite backs around Angel Stadium.
Key stat: Mater Dei turned two turnovers into 14 points in 61 seconds time in that second quarter. Completely different ball game in the blink of an eye.
They said it: “Jed Smith was everywhere tonight. He had a phenomenal night. Here’s an overachieving kid that I can’t say enough about, and he battled every play.” – Mater Dei coach Bruce Rollinson on his senior linebacker.
What it means: Like LaMarche said after the game, Mater Dei has its swagger back. The Monarchs bounced back from the Bosco loss and improved to 2-1 in the Trinity League. With three league wins typically being the magic number in garnering a playoff spot in the Trinity, the Monarchs could reach that mark next week against JSerra, who has yet to win a league contest this season.
Servite is going to be in one heck of a battle next week against Santa Margarita since both teams are sitting at 1-2 in league. Despite the fact that the Trinity League earned both Pac-5 Division at-large berths a season ago, you never want to bank on that. Servite may be the more desperate of the two teams next Friday. The Friars have yet to play the powerhouse that is St. John Bosco.