The game: Mater Dei forced six turnovers and got eight sacks. Monarchs running back Brandon LaMarche rushed for 244 yards and two touchdowns. JT Daniels threw three touchdown passes for the Mater Dei, continuing his remarkable freshman year. Santa Margarita senior quarterback KJ Costello played his final high school game and, despite the pressure from the Mater Dei defense and with no running game for support, threw two touchdown passes and finished with 350 yards. He is on his way to Stanford.
Key to the game: Mater Dei’s business-like approach. The Monarchs had lost to JSerra the week before. Coach Bruce Rollinson and senior defensive lineman Kapono Laguisan admitted that Mater Dei was overconfident going into that game, having clocked Servite by 32 points the previous week. Mater Dei’s motto this season is “Red Purpose.” The Monarchs played with purpose against Santa Margarita.
Player of the game: Jalen Cole, junior defensive back. He returned a punt 90 yards for a touchdown, had two interceptions and recovered a fumble.
Key stat: Six turnovers gained by Mater Dei. That will get you a win every time.
They said it: “At halftime, I looked into our players eyes and I knew I didn’t have to say a thing. They were ready.” – Mater Dei coach Bruce Rollinson
What it means: If Mater Dei had lost, there would have been a five-way tie for second place in the Trinity League. Head-to-head results could not have separated the five, so coin flips would have to sort it all out. By beating Santa Margarita, Mater Dei, finishing 3-2 in league took the Trinity League’s No. 2 playoff berth behind league No. 1 St. John Bosco (5-0). Santa Margarita finished last with a 1-4 league record and is out of playoff contention. A 3-way tie for third – JSerra, Orange Lutheran and Servite all went 2-3 in league – resulted in Orange Lutheran getting the No. 3 designation that is the league’s final guaranteed playoff berth, JSerra getting the No. 4 spot and Servite getting No. 5. As a No. 2 team, Mater Dei will open the playoffs against another league’s No. 2 or No. 3 team. The Monarchs could get a first-round home game, or could open on the road.