Norwalk, CA- Heading into the CIF Southern Section Division One championship game, Mater Dei had outscored their opponents 623-184. With some extra motivation against St. John Bosco, who ended their perfect season in last year’s division one title game, Mater Dei continued to score at will. J.T. Daniels led Mater Dei to a 49-24 championship victory, throwing for 299 yards and five touchdown passes.
“It’s just a culmination of all of the years of hard work,” Daniels said, as Mater Dei captured their first Southern Section title since 1999.
Mater Dei’s leading tackler Solomon Tuliaupupu was sidelined with a foot injury, but the defense held Bosco’s star-studded backfield of D.J. Uiagalelei and George Holani to just 99 rushing yards.
Uiagalelei threw for 172 yards and two scores, and wideout Josh Delgado caught six passes for 54 yards. Bosco finishes at 11-3 overall, and despite the loss, have reached five straight Southern Section championship games.
Six-foot-three junior wideout Bru McCoy hauled in three touchdowns for Mater Dei, while senior Amon-Ra St. Brown caught eight balls for 150 yards and one score.
“To finally win this championship, it feels great. After losing this game last year, we knew what we needed to do to change the result this time around,” St. Brown said.
Standout junior running back Shakobe Harper busted out for 107 yards through the ground off 16 carries, and added two touchdowns.
“I had friends on the other side tonight, so it’s going to be great to have something like this to rub in their face a little bit,” he said.
After what was considered a slow offensive first half for Mater Dei, the Monarchs flew down the field after stopping the Braves at the beginning of the third quarter. Nikko Remigio snatched a 12-yard touchdown pass to put Mater Dei ahead 28-10, with 7:48 left in the quarter.
Bosco started the next drive at their own 18-yard line, fighting to stay within striking distance. Holani led the Braves down the field with eight rushes, and capitalized on a touchdown run from inside the one-yard line to cut the score to 28-17.
The teams traded possessions to end the third quarter, but Mater Dei had the ball to start the fourth. Daniels and top wideout Amon-Ra St. Brown hadn’t connected for a score yet, but unfortunately for Bosco, that changed when St. Brown caught and ran 43 yards to give Mater Dei a crucial 35-14 late-game advantage.
Uiagalelei and the Braves offense continued to struggle, punting the ball right back to Mater Dei. Five plays later, Bru McCoy seemingly put the game out of reach with a 24-yard touchdown reception, giving Mater Dei a 42-17 lead with seven minutes left.
Bosco wouldn’t go down without a fight, however, as the Braves drove right down the field inside Mater Dei’s five yard line just minutes later. Uiagalelei threw a five-yard score with 4:37 remaining to cut the score to 42-24.
With their season on the line, head coach Jason Negro shocked Mater Dei with a successful onside kick, giving the Braves a real chance to make things very interesting down the stretch.
From their own 43-yard line, the Braves drove inside the Mater Dei 40-yard line, but faced a colossal fourth-and-four. A failed attempt handed the ball back to Mater Dei, and Harper broke off a 50-yard touchdown run moments later to ice the game.
In-front of a packed 11,976-filled crowd, Mater Dei’s offense rolled down the field from their own 25-yard line to start the game, scoring on an 8-yard Harper touchdown run. Bosco failed to respond, but a great punt nailed Mater Dei inside their own three-yard line.
The Braves forced a quick three-and-out, giving their offense the ball with great field position to end the first quarter. Bosco drove inside the Mater Dei five-yard line, but fell short of the endzone on a third-and-goal.
Jacob Garcia converted on a 21-yard field goal to make the score 7-3, with 8:49 remaining in the first quarter. Daniels and McCoy connected from 12-yards out with under five minutes left in the half, to put Mater Dei up 14-3.
Bosco milked the clock and advanced deep into Monarch territory. Junior receiver Jake Bailey scored from seven-yards out with just over one minute left, cutting the Braves deficit to 14-10.
Taking all momentum out of Bosco’s hands to end the second quarter, McCoy caught yet another touchdown pass, this time from 23-yards out, to give the Monarchs a 21-10 halftime lead.
Mater Dei improves to a perfect 14-0, and are now Trinity League and CIF Southern Section champions. The Monarchs aren’t finished just yet, however, as they will head up to Sacramento for the CIF Open Division championship game on December 16th against NorCal power De La Salle.