What We Learned: Big first half pushes No. 1 Mater Dei over Servite

Photo: Russ Ronchi/Mater Dei Football

Another Mater Dei game, another Mater Dei game decided by halftime.

The Servite Friars (Anaheim, California) hoped to prove they’re legit against the No. 1 team in the country a week after nearly beating No. 3 St. John Bosco (Bellflower, California) in a one-point game.

Instead, the Monarchs walloped Servite, winning 56-11.

Mater Dei quarterback Bryce Young went 14-for-14 with 138 yards in the first quarter alone to lead the team to a 14-0 lead, according to OC Varsity reporter Steve Fryer, and finished with more than 400 total yards and five touchdowns.

At halftime, the score was 42-3, and there was nothing left to do but use up time.

Here are some takeaways from this game.

Constants on Mater Dei defense

Mater Dei is elite at strip-sacking the quarterback. This week it was defensive lineman Tyler Narayan who had the honors, ripping the ball out and linebacker Dean Neeley grabbed it in the air and returned it 40 yards. Raesjon Davis continues to put together together an extremely strong season as he intercepted a pass in the second quarter, which led to an offensive touchdown. The defense helped the team take a 35-0 lead in the first half before Servite finally knocked in a field goal.

It takes four downs to stop Mater Dei

This one seems obvious and is a cliche, but the offense is so efficient Mater Dei doesn’t need many fourth-down conversions to win. But following the Davis interception on a fourth-and-12 with the ball a bit out of field goal range, the Monarchs took a chance instead of punting or attempting the long field goal. Young found wide receiver Kody Epps streaking out and hit him for a touchdown. The coaching staff’s confidence in the offense has to be nice for the unit, which is trusted to make plays like this. The lead was extended to 35-0 and was the gut punch for Servite.

This is Trinity League

Score aside, parts of the game sparked back a rivalry between Servite and Mater Dei. There was chippy play, including a late hit on Young after he ran in a touchdown, which sparked some arguing and offsetting penalties. That was the second time personal fouls led to offsetting penalties. It was a scrappy game all-around, and despite the scoring margin, it’s always fun to see rivalries in action.

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