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OCVarsity Kickoff '16: Mater Dei preview
OCVarsity’s team preview for 2016:
MATER DEI MONARCHS
Coach: Bruce Rollinson
Last season: 10-3 overall, 3-2 league
Scouting report: You know a league is good when a team in the California top 10 is not favored to win its league championship. That’s Mater Dei’s story going into this season. The Monarchs might be a step behind ultra-talented St. John Bosco, but they are good enough to win the league titles of 90-whatever percent of the leagues in the state. And they just might be good enough to beat Bosco. Mater Dei has standout players everywhere – offense, defense and special teams. Sophomore quarterback JT Daniels made a wonderful freshman debut last season in which he threw for 3,042 yards and 33 touchdowns. The receiving corps is a deep and skilled group, which includes brothers Osiris and Amon-Ra St. Brown. Mater Dei’s defensive backfield features two players who have make college commitments, Xavier Bell to Arizona, Quentin Lake to UCLA, and another, Jalen Cole, who was All-Trinity League first team in 2015. The linebacking crew, featuring ’15 all-league second-team selection Fa’ave Fa’ave, is solid, and Chase McGrath-Ryan Stonehouse might be the best kicker-punter combination in Orange County. Coach Bruce Rollinson’s only concern, albeit it’s a small one, is the offensive line. “We’re counting on a lot of young kids there,” Rollinson said. “We feel that we have a depth issue at offensive line in our backups area, but those kids are getting better.” The Monarchs, who lost to Centennial of Corona by six points in the CIF-SS Pac-5 Division semifinals last season, are coming off of a fine summer in which they won the Battle at the Beach 7-on-7 passing tournament that drew many of the Southern California’s top teams.
Bottom line: If Daniels can avoid a sophomore slump – and all indications are that he will continue to progress rapidly – and the offensive line can handle all of the great defensive lines Mater Dei will face, the Monarchs will be great.
Players to watch: Osiris St. Brown, WR, Sr.; JT Daniels, QB, So.; Austin Faoliu, DL, Sr.; Jalen Cole, DB, Sr.
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