Last week, Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) was officially presented its USA TODAY Super 25 National Championship banner for finishing the 2017-18 season ranked No. 1 in the nation.
Long-time Monarchs coach Bruce Rollinson was awarded the American Family Insurance ALL-USA Football Coach of the Year trophy for his efforts in 2017. Mater Dei was 15-0 and won its first California Interscholastic Federation Open Division State Championship after rolling Bay Area juggernaut De La Salle, 52-21, on Dec. 16.
It was Mater Dei’s first Super 25 National Championship since 1996. The Monarchs also were ranked first in 1994.
While admitting, “I’m not embarrassed to say this is the best football team I’ve ever coached,” Rollinson was deferential in his acceptance, saying, “I’m only as good as my players, but most importantly I’m only as good as my assistant coaches.”
Solomon Tuliaupupu, the ALL-USA Defensive Player of the Year, was effusive in his praise for Rollinson.
“He pushed us to our limits,” Tuliaupupu said. “He prepared us mentally, emotionally and physically to handle this level of play.”