Video: Mater Dei-SJ Bosco highlights
Watch JT Daniels through for 5 touchdowns and 300 yards as the Monarchs win first title since 1999.
The nation's No. 1 team wasn't going to just sit on the ball.
After fifth-ranked St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.)
closed to within four points with 1:10 left in the first half, Mater Dei (Santa Ana)
drove right down the field, capped by a 23-yard touchdown pass from JT Daniels
to Bru McCoy
their second scoring hook-up of the game, to give their team all the momentum it would need to post a truly impressive 49-24 CIF Southern Section Division I title win at Cerritos College on Saturday night.
Daniels (19 of 26, 300 yards) would pass for three three more second-half touchdown passes — giving him five for the game and 49 for the season — one more to McCoy and one each to Nikko Remigio
and Amon-Ra St. Brown
as the Monarchs (14-0) got the proverbial monkey off its back with a brilliant performance on both sides of the ball.
Mater Dei, a two-time mythical national championship in the 90s, earned its first entrance to the modern CIF state tournament, which was re-opened in 2006, and its first section title since 1999. The Monarchs also avenged a 42-28 loss to Bosco in last year's championship game
"It felt terrible last year," said St. Brown, who finished with eight catches for 175 yards. "Finishing of sections this year like this feels so good."
. The Braves, making their fifth straight appearance in the Southern Section's highest division title game, finished 11-3.
Two of those losses came to the Monarchs, who will now certainly be chosen as the Southern California representative to play in the CIF State Open Division game against Northern California's best, likely De La Salle (Concord) or Folsom.
"This diamond was ours," Mater Dei 68-year-old coach Bruce Rollinson, in his 29th season. "Now we have to take it up North and finish it."
Rollinson said he had to thank a lot of people and started with the school's administration. "They continued to believe in me when a lot of people thought I was too old," he said. "But we proved them wrong. ... I have a great staff, with a great senior class and a great football team."
Daniels, who has now thrown for 3,891 yards this season and more than 11,500 for his career, said winning section is a dream come true.
"It all comes down to years of hard work and rehearsal," he said. "We've put in so many reps over so many years. We just dial it up and execute."
The Monarch opened the game with a 75-yard drive, mostly on the ground, capped by an 8-yard touchdown run by Glenn Harper
. The drive chewed up 6:30 of the clock and showed that opened up the passing game the rest of the way.
After Bosco closed to 7-3 on a 21-yard field goal by Garcia, Mater Dei went three-and-out but its ensuing punt was muffed and 47 recovered at the Bosco 27. Daniels then completed an 11-yard touchdown pass to McCoy, who was was tightly covered but just got one foot in bounds, making it 14-3.
Mater Dei controlled the ball most the first half, but Bosco closed to 14-10 on a 7-yard TD pass from DJ Uiagalelei
to Jake Bailey
with 1:10 left in the half. Rather than sit on it, Daniels found 8 on a couple of intermediate passes before finding a wide-open McCoy in the right corner of the end zone, giving the Monarchs a 21-10 halftime lead.
They went up 28-10 midway through the third quarter on Daniels' third touchdown pass, a 13-yarder to Remigo. Bosco came right back to close to 28-17 on a 1-yard run by George Holani
i on fourth-and-goal. Mater Dei's defense, which was stiff all night, stopped Bosco on two earlier tries from the 1. The Braves had to fight for everything.
Daniels threw another 24-yard TD pass to McCoy and a 43-yarder to St. Brown, before Harper (10 carries, 163 yards) finished things off with a 45-yard TD run. The Monarchs, behind one of the top offensive lines in the country, finished with 460 yards to 307 for Bosco, which got 177 yards passing and two scores from Uiagalelei.
There was just one turnover in the game, by Bosco, which Mater Dei turned into an immediate touchdown.
"You have to give a lot of credit to Mater Dei," said Bosco coach Jason Negro, always a class act. "I think they're the best team in the country. They need to finish it of. ... I'm proud of our effort. We just fell a little short tonight."