SANTA ANA, Calif. -- Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)
just would not go away Friday night. Alemany (Mission Hills, Calif.)
In a game that saw each team suffer through a short rough spot, it was the Warriors of Alemany whose came at the most inopportune time. Their ill-timed shortcomings helped pave the way for a furious Mater Dei comeback and a 53-42 Monarchs triumph in the Pac-5 Division bracket in the Southern Section
.See the Southern Section playoff roundup
Mater Dei trailed 35-31 after three quarters and was put in worse shape when Devon Dunn
found Desean Holmes
for an electrifying 28-yard touchdown pass on a bootleg play that moved the advantage to 42-31. The Warriors were sitting on an 11-point lead and with about six minutes left in the game, they had Mater Dei stuck at its own 25 on a fourth-and-6 attempt.
A defensive stop would have likely spelled the demise of Mater Dei. But
found Thomas Duarte
for a 12-yard connection to keep the drive alive.
That's what ignited the momentum shift, and it may very well still be rolling hours after the game.
The Monarchs scored three plays later when Forrest passed to sophomore Ben Humphreys
for a 49-yard score on a fade pattern, then the subsequent 2-point conversion by J.C. Genova
made it 42-39, Alemany. Certainly not a favorable occurrence for Alemany, but the Warriors were getting the ball back with 5:40 left, they had the lead, and had an offense that was in a groove.
The groove came to a halt with a three-and-out drive followed by a 23-yard punt. All the sudden, Mater Dei got the ball back at the Alemany 47 with 4:50 left and a shot at the lead.
A 23-yard pass to Duarte, a five-yard penalty and 11 yards from Genova on the ground helped get the ball to the 3 with 2:33 left when Alemany used a timeout to stop the clock. Genova bullied in from 3 yards out on the next play and the home team grabbed the lead back, 46-42.
Out trotted Dunn and the offense to get the lead back, and they moved 14 yards on the second play of the drive with a slant connection.
On the fourth play, though, disaster struck. A pass intended for the slot receiver hit him somewhere on his backside and the ball stayed airborne long enough for Humphreys to grab it and start running furiously the other way. The 32-yard return gave the Monarchs the ball deep in Alemany territory, and Genova made them pay with a 7-yard touchdown with 1:35 left.
Dunn's next pass, on the next play from scrimmage, was underthrown and Matthew Rockett
hauled in the interception to wrap up the win. It also secured a trip to face St. Bonaventure in a Pac-5 semifinal next week.
"We've seen them on tape, the Santa Margarita
game," Mater Dei coach Bruce Rollinson said. "We see a very similar offense to ours and a very similar defense
with well-coached kids. We are gonna have to earn it. But I want to
enjoy this one for 20 minutes before I get nervous about that."
As previously mentioned, Mater Dei also had a case of ill-timed gaffes. The Monarchs' 14-0 lead after two offensive drives turned into a 14-7 lead when they kicked to USC-bound speedster
and he took it 92 yards for a score. In the second quarter, they gave a away a fumble and Dunn found Deshone Randall
for a touchdown pass.
On the next drive, Mater Dei gave it away on a Brandon Boyd
interception and Dunn found Mitchell for a score to make it 21-17 Warriors. Duarte caught a 54-yard score just before halftime to give Mater Dei a 24-21 halftime cushion.
"We were still winning. All they were getting were big plays, they weren't really driving on us," Genova said. "So we felt fine."
Rollinson said those gaffes prevented his team from gunning for a tighter control of the game early on.
"Four bad plays, otherwise I'm not so sure if we had to get into a battle like this in the second half," he said.
Dunn passed for 284 yards and Forrest earned 315, while Duarte led all receivers with 139 yards on five grabs. Holmes recorded 90 yards on three catches for Alemany and Justin Allen
led all rushers with 90 yards for Mater Dei.For more detailed information, view the Qwixcore game log from this game