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Mater Dei wins 'Battle at the Beach' passing tournament
HUNTINGTON BEACH – Wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown soared between two Edison defenders to make a leaping touchdown catch when Mater Dei needed a score at the “Battle at the Beach” 7-on-7 passing tournament Saturday.
Sophomore-to-be quarterback JT Daniels called his own plays, including audibles, in all seven games for the Monarchs.
Mater Dei linebacker Jack Genova baited a St. John Bosco quarterback to make an ill-advised throw that he intercepted near the end zone during another critical juncture.
Monarchs football coach Bruce Rollinson usually tempers his reaction to 7-on-7 passing success but it was scenes like these Saturday that prompted him to somewhat break form.
The Monarchs stormed to the tournament title at Edison by going 7-0 against a loaded, 20-team field that featured several of the top contenders in Division 1.
Mater Dei beat Valencia of Valencia, 26-14, in a comfortable championship after sweating through consecutive grueling, 30-minute games against Corona del Mar, St. John Bosco and Edison.
Rollinson again reminded his players they’ll be remembered for what they accomplish in the fall but still recognized the significance of their accomplishment.
“I thought it was important for us to come in and make a statement,” said Rollinson, whose squad captured its third passing tournament of the summer.
“We’re being touted as one of the better teams in the state and evidently – I don’t look at this stuff – but I guess there’s some national rankings that are already out. … All and all, it’s a great day but it’s a passing tournament.
“I’ll go home, have a diet soda and start to plan the last three days (of summer football) and how hard I’m going to push them.”
Mater Dei handled business Saturday. Daniels tossed four touchdowns in the finals to four different players: receivers CJ Parks and Bru McCoy and running backs Raphael Jones and Shakobe Harper. Safety Xavier Bell added an interception on defense.
“When you got the St. Browns (Amon-Ra and Osiris), Bru McCoy, CJ Parks, Nikko Remigio, it gets easy,” Daniels said of his receiver. “All you got to do is your part.”
Daniels called his own plays, often using hand signals to his receivers before the snap. He was only intercepted twice in seven games.
“My understanding of the game has improved through coach (Dave) Money,” Daniels said of his offensive coordinator.
“I’m also really stepping out of my shell and trying to be a leader and bring the guys up with me.”
In the semifinals, Mater Dei edged Edison, 25-20, on a late leaping touchdown catch by Amon-Ra St. Brown on a third-and-25.
“That was just Amon-Ra saying we’re not going to lose,” Rollinson said.
Genova’s late interception helped Mater Dei defeat St. John Bosco 26-13, in the quarterfinals. The defensive play protected a small lead and led to Daniels’ long touchdown pass to McCoy.
Mater Dei’s closest margin of victory came in a 20-18 triumph against Corona del Mar and quarterback Chase Garbers in the teams’ final pool-play game.
Corona del Mar earlier won two tournaments. “We pride ourselves that we can play with anybody,” said Garbers, a strong-armed Cal commit.
The soon-to-be retiring Dave White coached his final tournament for Edison but the focus for the Chargers was senior-to-be Shaun Colamonico (5-11, 165).
The receiver/cornerback caught two touchdowns against Mater Dei to finish with 12 on the day. He also finished with eight interceptions in six games.
“He’s the MVP every time we play,” White said. “He can play Big Sky, Mountain West.”
Edison beat Centennial of Corona, 37-19, in the quarterfinals by scoring on its first five possessions and collecting three interceptions.
EJ Ginnis caught 10 touchdowns on the day and played safety while Bowen Blake and Griffin O’Connor rotated at quarterback.
Mission Viejo quarterbacks Chase Petersen and Aaron Angelos have enrolled at Tesoro and are competing with Hunter Cifuentes for the starting position, Titans coach Matt Poston said. All three are juniors. …
Quarterback Joe Hernandez (6-0, 185), a transfer from St. Paul of Santa Fe Springs, has the inside track to start at La Habra, Highlanders coach Frank Mazzotta said. …
La Habra outside linebacker Marcus Carrasco (6-3, 220) has been offered by Hawaii, UTEP and Northern Arizona. He had two interceptions against Charter Oak.
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