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It didn’t end the debate. But it sure did give California’s argument plenty of support.
Mater Dei lived up to its national No. 1 ranking with a 45-3 win over Duncanville of Texas on Friday in the Monarchs’ season opener and their first game ever played in Texas.
Duncanville is No. 13 in the MaxPreps national rankings and Mater Dei is No. 1.
Beyond the impact on the rankings, the game had a California vs. Texas subplot to it. The long-running argument about which state has the best high school football always seems to come down to California and Texas as the leading candidates.
On Friday night, a strong case was made for California thanks to the impressive performance by the Monarchs, who are 59-4 since the 2015 season.
Sophomore quarterback Elijah Brown completed 18 of 23 passes for 269 yards and three touchdowns. Senior receiver C.J. Williams had six receptions for 99 yards and a touchdown. Raleek Brown scored on a 76-yard run and defensive back Domani Jackson returned an interception for an early touchdown.
The Monarchs controlled the game from the start. Jackson, a USC commit, returned an an interception 38 yards for a touchdown on the Panthers’ game-opening possession for a 7-0 lead.
After a Duncanville field goal, Raleek Brown, an Oklahoma commit, ran 76 yards for a touchdown to make it 14-3 late in the first quarter.
An interception by Josh Hunter led to a 25-yard field goal by Chase Meyer to push the Monarchs’ lead to 17-3 with 10:30 remaining in the second quarter.
Mater Dei put the game away with two touchdowns in the final 2:11 of the first half.
Jack Ressler caught a 37-yard touchdown pass from Elijah Brown and Quincy Brown caught a 6-yard touchdown pass.
The Monarchs went into halftime with a 31-3 lead.
Another Elijah Brown touchdown pass, this one to Williams for 34 yards, increased the lead to 38-3 with 7:27 left in the third quarter. Mater Dei freshman Jordan Davison, on his first varsity carry, scored on a 13-yard run for a 45-3 lead late in the third quarter.
The only blemish for Mater Dei was five offensive false start penalties, perhaps not unexpected for the first game of a season. Otherwise, the Monarchs offensive line of DeAndre Carter, Jack Laphen, Mosula Tapusoa, Sione Tohi and B.J. Tolo was splendid.
The Monarchs linebackers, led by David Bailey and Leviticus Su’a, harassed Panthers quarterback Solomon James and rarely failed to bring down a ballcarrier who got through the Mater Dei defensive line.
Mater Dei was 5-0 this past spring in an abbreviated and delayed season because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Monarchs were 12-1 in 2019.
Mater Dei does not have a game scheduled for next week.
The next game on their schedule is against Liberty of Henderson, Nev., at Bishop Gorman High in Las Vegas on Sept. 10. Monarchs coach Bruce Rollinson has tried to fill open dates but has yet to be successful.
After what happened Friday in Texas, Rollinson might not be getting many “hey, we’ll play you guys” phone calls.