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CIF-SS Pac-5 Division preview

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CIF-SOUTHERN SECTION FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS

Pac-5 Division

LONG BEACH POLY (10-3) VS. MATER DEI (11-2)

Where, when: Angel Stadium, Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

Admission: $12 general admission; $5 for children 12 and younger and for students with valid student identification. Angel Stadium ticket booths open at 6 p.m.

Parking: $10

TV: Fox Sports West



Outlook: This is the 13th meeting between these programs. Mater Dei has a 6-5-1 edge. Long Beach Poly has won 18 CIF-SS football titles in its 22 previous championship games, making it the most successful football program in the section's 100-year history. Mater Dei has won 11 CIF-SS football championships, with the most recent one coming in 1999 when the Monarchs and Poly tied, 21-21, in the Division 1 final to make them co-champions. They met the two previous seasons in section finals, with Poly's Jackrabbits winning in 1997 and Mater Dei winning in '98. Poly got off to a rocky start this year, losing three of its first four games although most of those losses were to very good opponents. Poly coach Raul Lara said the team needed to return to the Poly formula. "We went back to what Poly football is all about, which is playing physical, running the ball and playing great defense," Lara said. Mater Dei coach Bruce Rollinson is aware of the transformation. "This Poly team obviously is not the same football team that played in those first four games (after which Poly was 1-3)," Rollinson said. "They had some players hurt, and all of a sudden they've settled into this powerful defense. That's a credit to Raul, who said 'Let's just play great defense.' I really admire what they've done. Their strength on offense is those two running backs, and they will throw it when they have to, but they know if they are going to win they're going to do so by running the football." Mater Dei missed the playoffs last year for the first time since 1986, and has made quite a rebound this year.

Leaders

Mater Dei – Passing, Chase Forrest (71-97-2-1013, 15 touchdowns), Ryan McMahon (93-160-4-1198, 12 touchdowns); Receiving, Thomas Duarte (50-920, 15 touchdowns), Jameson Field (38-353, 1 touchdown); Rushing, JC Genova (74-330, 6 touchdowns), Treavon Coley (85-679, 6 touchdowns); Defense, JC Genova (90 tackles, 11 sacks), Thomas Duarte (10 sacks); Jonathan Lockett (7 interceptions).

Long Beach Poly – Passing, Tai Tiedemann (64-128-9-875, 9 touchdowns); Receiving, Juju Smith (42-622, 6 touchdowns), Thomas Tucker 26-304, 4 touchdowns); Rushing, Gerard Wicks (1`74-1,299, 17 touchdowns), Manusamoa Luuga (158-1,087, 10 touchdowns); Defense, Jayon Brown (70 tackles), Caleb Turner (67 tackles), Lajay Kelley (9.5 sacks), Juju Smith (5 interceptions).

Coach's analysis

St. John Bosco of Bellflower coach Jason Negro's Braves played Mater Dei in a Trinity League game, a 27-19 Bosco victory, and Long Beach Poly in last week's Pac-5 semifinals, a 13-10 Poly victory. Here is his look at the Poly-Mater Dei game.

What Long Beach Poly must do to win: "The most important thing for Poly is that they have to continue to run the ball as they have these last several weeks. Defensively, they have to contain (Mater Dei quarterback) Chase Forrest, who has been very versatile for Mater Dei in the playoffs. Poly also has to eliminate the mistakes – the turnovers, the penalties, things like that."

What Mater Dei must do to win: "Mater Dei has to stop the run, which obviously is Poly's bread and butter. And Mater Dei has to be dynamic on offense. Poly has the guys on defense who can run your guys down, especially when that Juju Smith kid gets going. They have to figure out a way to keep him out of Poly's defensive game plan because he will wreck things."

Negro's prediction: Mater Dei, 24-23.

Probable starters

Long Beach Poly

Offense

JuJu Smith, WR

David Drummer, TE

Jordan Culp-Freeman, T

Jason Fao, G

Gasetoto Schuster, C

Drew Ho, G

John Tucker, T

Thomas Tucker, WR

Tai Tiedemann, QB

Gerard Wicks, TB

Manusamoa Luuga, FB

Defense

LaJay Kelly, DE

Jason Fao, DT

Imani Mitchell, DT

Roman Wiant, DE

Omar Lyles, LB

Jayon Brown, LB

Caleb Turner, LB

David Price, CB

Mathew Mitai, S

JuJu Smith, S

Iman Marshall, CB

Gerard Wicks, P

Adam Daniels, K

MATER DEI

Offense

Jameson Field, WR

Sam Bush, T

Anthony Gutierrez, G

Addison Ooms, C

Alex McCutcheon, G

David Bright, T

Justin Norbeck, TE

Thomas Duarte, WR

Chase Forrest, QB

Pule Moaliitele, FB

Treavon Coley, TB

Defense

Malik McMorris, DE

Pule MoaLiitele, NT

Soli Silao, DE

Grant Moore, LB

JC Genova, LB

Adam Davis, LB

Thomas Duarte, LB

Jonathan Lockett, CB

London Iakopo, S

Johnny Johnson, S

Treavon Coley, CB

Tim Strader, P

Tim Strader, K


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