SANTA ANA - Trailing by 11 points with just over seven minutes to go, it looked like a disappointing finish to junior quarterback Chase Forrest's second playoff start for Mater Dei.
However, the Monarchs rallied for three touchdowns in the final minutes, turning that deficit into a 53-42 victory over Alemany in a CIF-SS Pac-5 Division second-round game at Santa Ana Stadium on Friday night.
Forrest finished the night with 313 yards passing, including a 49-yard touchdown pass to Ben Humphreys that enabled Mater Dei to cut the gap to 42-39 with 5:47 to go.
Forrest said the Monarchs always felt like they could get back into the game.
“This is what we do,” Forrest said. “We just knew how important this game was … We pulled together as a team.
"I thank my ‘O’ line; I thank my receivers for making great plays. We just pulled it together.”
After splitting time at quarterback this season with senior Ryan McMahon, Forrest has won the job, according to Coach Bruce Rollinson.
“He can run it a little bit, his confidence has increased as the season has gone on. He’s very comfortable,' Rollinson said. "He’s a junior, he doesn’t have all that garbage recruiting yet and all that stuff. He just goes out and plays the game to play the game and have fun.”
As well as Forrest was playing, Alemany jumped on two of his mistakes, a fumble and an interception, to set up two of its first-half scores.
“What we said to Chase is, here are the adjustments, this is what we are seeing, these are the routes, these are the calls we’re going to go in with at the half,” Rollinson said. “But the offensive line gave him the time to get out.”
Forrest’s debut as the starter was a blowout a week earlier as the Monarchs defeated Lakewood, 71-10. Forrest completed 12 of 14 passes for 167 yards and four touchdowns.
While he faced more adversity Friday, he completed 15 of 26 passes and collected four more scores.
“It’s a tough part of coaching," Rollinson said of his move to go with Forrest as the starter in the playoffs. "Ryan McMahon has done a great job for us, but we had to do what we thought was right for the club, and it’s paid off."