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Daniels leads way as Mater Dei cruises into semifinals
MURRIETA – There were a number of things that Vista Murrieta’s football team did right Friday night.
But when facing an opponent ranked No. 1 in the nation, and one that seemingly does everything right, the result was predictable.
Sophomore quarterback JT Daniels threw for 422 yards and five touchdowns as top-seeded Mater Dei outraced host Vista Murrieta, 63-30, in a CIF-SS Division 1 second-round game.
The Monarchs (12-0), ranked No. 1 in the country by the USA Today’s computer rankings, advance to face Rancho Cucamonga in the semifinals next week. The game will be played Friday at Orange Coast College.
“This is a lot of fun,” said Daniels. “Our receivers are just too good, the offensive line line is too good – they’re all just too good not to have fun.”
Daniels threw scoring passes of 74, 9, 17, 6 and 65 yards, with junior Amon-Ra St. Brown catching six passes for 166 yards and two scores.
With the loss, Vista Murrieta (9-3) missed playing in a CIF-Southern Section championship game for the first time since 2008 but ended its season with a respectable quarterfinal run in Division 1.
The Broncos also took solace in scoring the most points against the Monarchs this year.
“I’m really proud of our kids,” Vista Murrieta coach David Olson said. “They played hard, and they played all the way to the end. I know (Mater Dei) put up a lot of points, but we put up a lot of points, too.”
Mater Dei led 35-7 at the half and 49-23 after three quarters.
Daniels had 300 yards and four touchdown passes at the half and had engineered a 14-0 lead when Broncos running back Jav Guidry capped a 15-play, 80-yard possession with a 17-yard touchdown run, pulling the Broncos to within 14-7.
It breathed some life into the Vista Murrieta crowd, but momentum instantly turned on the next possession when senior Raphael Jones plunged for a 1-yard touchdown on fourth-and-1 to give Mater Dei a 21-7 lead with 11:31 left in the second quarter.
From there, the Monarchs were off to the races, scoring twice more on Daniels touchdown passes for a 35-7 halftime lead.
The Broncos did get a safety and subsequent touchdown to cut the deficit to 35-16.
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