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The Victory Count


Honoring Bruce Rollinson

Athletic powerhouse Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) will honor one of its own on Friday night when veteran football coach Bruce Rollinson steps into the spotlight.

The Monarchs will play longtime rival Servite (Anaheim, Calif.) at Angels Stadium in Anaheim.

The 64-year-old legend, who graduated from Mater Dei in 1967, will be feted for his 25 years as head coach at his alma mater. He has sent 103 players to Division I colleges with 11 of them going on to the NFL.

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Bruce Rollinson / Mater Dei High School
Two of his most famous products are quarterbacks Matt Leinart, a Heisman Trophy winner, and Matt Barkley. Over 100 of his former players are expected to be in attendance.

Entering this season he had compiled an outstanding career record of 229-73-2 and he’s off to a perfect 5-0 start this fall. His 1994 and 1996 teams were declared national champions by USA Today. He also has won one state and five Southern Section titles.

Rollinson, who lives just a 12-minute drive from campus, told USA Today High School Sports, “I’ve spent one-half of my life here as a student, teacher and coach. I pretty much bleed school colors (scarlet and gray). I believe in a Catholic education and the values taught to me.”

Rollinson was a halfback and safety in high school and also was a track standout, running 100 yards in a swift 9.6 seconds. He later played at the University of Southern California.

After becoming head coach in 1989, he developed this motto: “You create the effort, God controls the outcome.”

The veteran coach looked back at his career and pointed out, “I still want to win football games, but once I got the program rolling I saw a deeper meaning to my role. It was to develop young men. The religious aspect is very important in my program and I try to teach them the power of prayer.”

Nobody has greater respect for Rollinson than Gary McKnight, who has been equally successful as the longtime Mater Dei boys basketball coach.

He noted, “Bruce is, to me, the focal point of our athletic program. He just transformed the football program at a downward time. The No. 1 sport at our high school is football. He’s done a great job helping Mater Dei athletics in general.

“He is a dynamic speaker. He’s the kind of guy that at a pep rally you don’t want to follow. I always talk first, because nobody would listen to me afterwards.”

Rollinson’s fire never has left him.

He related, “When I look around my office at all the memorabilia, it gives me urgency – not satisfaction. I want to win another championship.”

Sawmiller nears national record

Senior receiver Justin Sawmiller (6-1, 185) goes after the national career pass reception record (358) tonight when Kenton (Ohio) plays at Elida (Ohio). Sawmiller has 350 catches, 4,995 yards and 48 touchdowns during his four-year career.

Mahar has memorable game

Senior Will Mahar never will forget a recent football game during which McQuaid (Rochester, N.Y.) nipped Edison (Rochester, N.Y.) 22-21. He caught a 41-yard pass and got out of bounds with eight-tenths of a second left, then kicked a game-winning 52-yard field goal. Earlier in the day, his grandfather, Ray Mahar, was buried.

Anderson ties Alabama record

Vestavia Hills (Ala.) football coach Buddy Anderson tied the state career record with his 302nd victory by beating Woodlawn (Birmingham, Ala.) 42-21.

3 Long winning streaks end

Ouachita Christian (Monroe, La.) lost to Union Parish (Farmerville, La.) 42-0 to end a 34-game football winning streak … Northern Guilford (Greensboro, N.C.) had a 34-game winning streak, which officially was broken at 31 when it was discovered that an ineligible player participated in an earlier victory … Nashoba Regional (Bolton, Mass.) had won 29 straight games before losing to St. John’s (Shrewsbury, Mass.) 49-21.

3 losing streaks broken

Breaking long football losing streaks last weekend were Lincoln Park (Mich.), 66; Central-Hayneville (Hayneville, Ala.), 56; and East Aurora (Aurora, Ill.), 44. The longest current losing streak may belong to Fayette-Ware (Somerville, Tenn.), which hopes to snap a 57-game skid when it plays host to Bolivar Central (Bolivar, Tenn.) on Oct. 18.

Biles wins world all-around title

Simone Biles, a junior from Spring, Texas, won all-around and floor exercise gold medals during the World Gymnastics Championships in Antwerp, Belgium. Long Beach, Calif., senior McKayla Maroney became the first U.S. woman to repeat as world vault champion.

Assumption wins Asics volleyball

Assumption (Louisville, Ky.) upset host Mother McAuley (Chicago, Ill.) 25-19, 25-9 to win its 13th Asics Challenge Volleyball Tournament title in 18 years. The champs had lost to Mother McAuley for the second time earlier in the week.

Brentwood runners dominate

Brentwood (Tenn.) won the premier boys division of the Great American Cross Country Festival in Cary, N.C., by placing its top four runners in positions 2-3-4-13. The girls title went to Assumption (Louisville, Ky.).

Vols like Oregon products

The University of Tennessee women’s basketball program recently received a commitment from talented Jaime Nared, a high-scoring (23.7) 6-1 senior wing from Westview (Portland, Ore.). Next year she will join Oregon friends Mercedes Russell and Jordan Reynolds, who are part of this year’s outstanding freshman class.

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