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Mater Dei fails to cash in chances
ANAHEIM – Great teams have a way of overcoming adversity.
Unfortunately for Mater Dei, things didn't work out that way Saturday.
The Monarchs (11-3) missed excellent opportunities as they fell to Long Beach Poly, 35-17, in the CIF-SS Pac-5 Division championship game at Angel Stadium.
The missed opportunities would cost them dearly.
Trailing 7-0 in the first quarter, the Monarchs took their first possession of the game and drove to the Jackrabbits' 26-yard line before being faced with a fourth-and-6. They chose not to go for a field goal, and when QB Chase Forrest dropped back to pass he couldn't find an open receiver.
Forrest tried to scramble, but was brought down several yards short of a first down, and the Monarchs had to give up the ball.
Three plays later, Long Beach Poly upped its lead to 14-0 and gained the early momentum after Manu Luuga raced 71 yards for a touchdown with 56 seconds to play in the opening quarter.
The Monarchs countered with an impressive 17-play drive. But miscues on their next drive again cost them a possible touchdown.
On a first down play from the 49-yard line, Jonathan Lockett broke free down the right sideline and was wide open near the 15-yard line. But Forrest's pass sailed over Lockett's head and fell incomplete.
Four plays later, Forrest hit Lockett on a 23-yard TD toss, but the play was nullified by a Mater Dei penalty.
Mater Dei caught a break when Poly defensive back David Price dropped a sure interception near the 10-yard line. One play later, Mater Dei kicker Timothy Strader booted a 24-yard field goal with 11:07 left in the half to cut the deficit to14-3.
Midway through the third quarter, Mater Dei had a first and goal at the Jackrabbits' 8-yard line after a bad snap on a Poly punt attempt. But the Monarchs again failed to capitalize as Forrest threw four consecutive incomplete passes.
Moments later, Mater Dei had great field position at the Poly 31-yard line but couldn't produce any points as they turned the ball back over to Poly on downs.
Poly (11-3) captured its 19th championship.