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Mater Dei still full of fight, beats St. John Bosco
Wittek leads the Monarchs' fourth-quarter rally, and they win their Trinity League opener, 31-20.
SANTA ANA - The winner of the Trinity League title will be a deserved champion.
Such will be the life in a league that started the week with four of the six teams ranked in the county's Top 10 and five of the six, including St. John Bosco of Bellflower, ranked or receiving votes in the CIF-SS Pac-5 Division poll.
Third-ranked Mater Dei began its five-week run with a 31-20 victory over St. John Bosco on Thursday night at Santa Ana Stadium.
"This is Trinity League football," Mater Dei coach Bruce Rollinson said. "You sit there and say we've won this one, but now we get ready for Orange Lutheran (next week)."
Mater Dei (4-2, 1-0) found itself trailing the Braves (4-1, 0-1) for the first time, 20-17, with 10:34 left in the game.
The Monarchs responded behind the running of quarterback Max Wittek. On a nine-play, 80-yard drive, Wittek rushed for 41 yards, including a 14-yard score with 6:56 left to give the Monarchs a 24-20 lead.
"Going on a sore foot from the first half," Rollinson said of his quarterback. "That's what Mater Dei kids will do. They will step up and make plays."
Wittek, who rushed for 76 yards, also completed 13 of 28 passes for 218 yards and two touchdowns, both to Victor Blackwell.
The defense, which had recorded five sacks in the first half, recovered a bad snap over Medina's head, giving the offense the ball at the Braves 44. Facing a fourth-and-7 from the 29, Wittek hooked up with Blackwell for a 13-yard gain. On the next play, Freddie Mora went in from the 16 to give the Monarchs a 31-20 lead.
"When they really needed it down the stretch, Wittek and Blackwell were the two guys that made a lot of plays," St. John Bosco coach Jason Negro said. "They did a good job getting their playmakers the ball and it hurt us in the end."
After surviving several potential knockout punches, St. John Bosco took its first lead of the night when quarterback Raymond Medina connected with wide receiver Bryce Treggs for a 66-yard touchdown pass for a 20-17 lead with 10:34 left.
St. John Bosco now sets its sights on rebounding next week, but that has to be done against Servite.
"I guarantee you we're going to come out and play," Negro said.
"Our kids played hard and we had a chance to win it late, but things didn't go our way."
For the Monarchs, this is their fourth consecutive victory after an 0-2 start.
"That's why we play the preseason that we do," Rollinson said. "I felt that development through physical football games paid off tonight.
"Nobody hung their heads. The offense came out, took care of business after they (St. John Bosco) got out ahead of us. We ended up with a W and that's what counts."