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Daniels, Mater Dei cruise through first league test
SANTA ANA – This was supposed to be the night top-ranked Mater Dei finally got its first real test of the season.
This is when the Monarchs starters were going to have to grind it out for 48 minutes as opposed to the two quarters they’ve routinely torched opponents through much of the preseason.
It was the Trinity League opener, after all, and No. 3 Santa Margarita was coming in on a four-game winning streak, playing with a growing sense of confidence.
That’s what was supposed to happen. None of it actually did.
Like their first five outings of the season, the Monarchs made quick work of their south county foe.
Mater Dei sophomore quarterback JT Daniels tossed a career-high seven touchdown passes in the first half alone, the defensive and special teams units consistently set up the offense with a short field, and the Monarchs shellacked the visiting Eagles, 62-14, in a Trinity League game Friday night at Santa Ana Stadium.
Daniels threw for 303 of his 305 yards in the first two quarters and played in just two series in the third. He connected with Amon-Ra St. Brown (82 yards) for three touchdowns, Osiris St. Brown (112 yards) caught a pair, and C.J. Parks (51 yards) and Nikko Remigio (34 yards) each hauled in a pass in the endzone.
Mater Dei (6-0, 1-0) led 56-0 at halftime, scoring on each of its first eight possessions.
“We had a great two weeks of preparation, my coaching staff just did a tremendous job in dialing them all in,” Monarchs coach Bruce Rollinson said after the game. “I thought our defense was outstanding, especially in the first half. I don’t even think they had 100 yards total (offense) and four first downs.”
The Monarchs defense dominated at every level in the opening two quarters, sacking Santa Margarita’s Richard Wagner four times, forcing a fumble, while limiting the Eagles offense to 55 yards on 31 plays. Santa Margarita (4-2, 0-1) did not gain a single yard through the air, went 0 for 9 on third downs, and went three-and-out on all four of its possessions in the first quarter.
Six of Mater Dei’s eight scoring drives in the opening half started in Eagles territory, thanks to three short punts, a forced fumble, Jack Genova’s blocked punt and Jalen Cole’s blocked field goal that he returned 44 yards into Santa Margarita’s side of the field.
Daniels and the offense only had possession of the ball for 7:57 in the first half compared to Santa Margarita’s 16:03, but the Monarchs average starting field position was the Eagles 41.
“That’s such a big help when you get the ball on the 40 every single time because you’ve got the best defense,” Daniels said. “Our special teams is always solid. So those guys make our job a lot easier than it looks.”
Mater Dei has outscored its six opponents, 286-7, in the first half alone.
Santa Margarita running back Chad Magyar battled his way to 102 yards on 24 carries.
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