The game: Mater Dei outscored Orange Lutheran. That’s the best way to describe it – Mater Dei outscored Orange Lutheran, 49-35. The game starred two excellent quarterbacks who made a plethora of great plays. Orange Lutheran senior Lj Northington threw for 281 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 96 yards and two touchdowns. He is a heck of an athlete. Mater Dei freshman JT Daniels is less of a freshman week after week. He threw for a season-high 454 yards and four touchdowns, and ran for a game-clinching touchdown with 1:38 left in the fourth quarter. Lutheran’s skill players looked faster than Mater Dei’s, and the Lancers fooled the Mater Dei defense several times with their option attack. Mater Dei called some slick plays, too – on the Monarchs fourth-quarter go-ahead touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, LaMarche raced out of the backfield uncovered, Daniels tossed the ball to LaMarche in the flat and nobody challenged LaMarche as he completed a 53-yard scoring play.
Key to the game: Mater Dei’s first play from scrimmage in the third quarter was an 80-yard touchdown pass from Daniels to Osiris St. Brown. That tied the game, 21-21. Lutheran appeared to have retaken the lead shortly thereafter on a 48-yard run by Dominik Austin – but an illegal block penalty erased the touchdown. Two plays later Mater Dei’s Jackson McCleery made an interception at the Monarchs’ 12-yard line. The Monarchs converted that into points, a 28-yard run that gave Mater Dei the lead for good.
Player of the game: Daniels. He has a great arm. More impressively is the way he sees the field. He has panoramic vision. And he can take the hits, too, which is important to get through the rigors of the very physical Trinity League.
Key stat: Orange Lutheran punted twice in the second half. That’s significant because the Lancers did not punt in the first half from which they emerged with a 21-14 lead. They needed to score on every second-half possession to match the Monarchs’ hot offense.
They said it: “Now, we have to get ready to play the California powerhouse Bosco.” – LaMarche. Mater Dei plays St. John Bosco on Friday at Santa Ana Stadium. Bosco is No. 3 in the state rankings. On Friday, Bosco beat Santa Margarita, 62-14, Friday. So Mater Dei knows the challenge ahead.
What it means: Any win in the Trinity League is a mammoth accomplishment. It is almost certain that a team will need three league wins to get one of the league’s three guaranteed berths in the CIF-Southern Section Pac-5 Division playoffs. Lutheran needs to win three of four remaining league games to get those three wins, and one of those remaining games is against St. John Bosco. Mater Dei needs to go 2-2, at least, to get a guaranteed playoff berth. But .500 football is not easy when your schedule is Bosco, Servite, JSerra and Santa Margarita. Last year, the Trinity League’s Nos. 4 and 5 finishers got both of the Pac-5 Division’s two at-large berths. That could happen again this year. Better to finish third or better and not worry about that.