J.T. Daniels ran for two touchdowns and threw three touchdown passes to lead No. 1 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) to a 52-21 defeat of No. 12 De La Salle (Concord) in the state football championship Open Division bowl game Saturday night in Sacramento.
De La Salle (11-2), which has won seven state titles and holds the national record for most consecutive wins (151, set from 1992 to 2004), is usually on the other side of such routs, but for the second consecutive year, the Spartans fell heavily to a Southern California power in the state championship. Last season St. John Bosco (Bellflower) beat De La Salle 56-33.
It was longtime Mater Dei coach Bruce Rollinson’s first victory over De La Salle in five attempts and his team’s first state championship since California went to a state bowl system.
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The Monarchs didn’t have any trouble with the windy conditions, taking a 7-0 lead 2:24 into the game as Daniels completed an 80-play drive with a 38-yard touchdown pass to Amon-Ra St. Brown, the first of two touchdown catches for St. Brown.
The Spartans fumbled twice in the first quarter, with both miscues leading to Mater Dei scores and the Monarchs were up 21-0 at the end of the first quarter.
That was more than enough margin for the steady Daniels. The junior, who has committed to Southern Cal, completed 20 of 30 passes for 233 yards.
The win likely wraps up Rollinson’s third Super 25 title, but first since 1996.
“A while back, there were people saying the game had passed me by, especially after the 2011 season, where we did not make the playoffs,” Rollinson said. “The administration stuck by me and I reinvented myself and blew the program up. This is our third time we’ve made the section finals in the past five years. Don’t tell me I can’t do something.”