Mater Dei head coach Bruce Rollinson has seen enough games in his 27 years to know that it’s not over until it’s over.
Friday night, the Monarchs, ranked #18 in High School Football America’s Preseason Top 25, lost an early 14-0 lead and then came back to beat highly-regarded Bishop Amat 24-21 at Santa Ana Stadium. The Lancers, ranked #31 in our Top 50, fought back from a 14-0 first quarter hole and took a 21-14 lead into the halftime locker room.
In the second half, Mater Dei used a clock-consuming ground game that kept the ball out of the hands of the very explosive Bishop Amat offense. At one point in the third quarter, Mater Dei had run 29 plays to Bishop Amat’s three. For the second half, the Monarchs had the ball for just over 21 minutes.
After the game I talked with Rollinson about how happy he was with his team’s second half comeback.
Rollinson was also happy with the play of his junior quarterback Matt McDonald, who started his first varsity game. McDonald said after the game he had some nerves at the beginning.
The beneficiary of great line play was senior running back Brandon LaMarche, who gained 133 yards on the ground with three touchdowns, including scoring the game winner. When I spoke to LaMarche after the game, he said he didn’t do it alone.