MISSION VIEJO – One of the greatest teams in Central Coast Section history, a group of players led by a passionate and driven coach who knows how to motivate youngsters, took another shot at perfection Saturday night, defeating the state’s top Achieved another victory in the championship.
But like the past two years, Serra fell short, suffering a second consecutive undefeated season with a loss against one of Southern California’s superpowers.
This time, Mater Dei-Santa Ana defeated the Padres by winning the CIF Open Division Championship 35–0 at Saddleback College behind its all-star collection of major college talent. The final was played with the clock running at 11:50.
The Open title was Mater Dei’s fourth since 2017 and second at Serra’s expense.
A massive underdog on this stage for the third time in as many appearances, the Padres used every trick in their book to keep Mater Dei out and run down the play clock before the snap to shorten the game.
This worked to some extent.
Serra trailed 14–0 after the first quarter and did not give up a third touchdown until the end of the second quarter.
The Padres played with the spirited aggression that was to be expected as their program was fueled by fire coach Patrick Walsh, but were outplayed by a Mater Dei team loaded with four- and five-star talent.
Mater Dei were far from perfection, being penalized 10 times for 80 yards in the first half alone.
But the Monarchs caught a break themselves on their first possession when a roughing-the-punter violation opened the door for a 16-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Elijah Brown, who is committed to Stanford, to freshman tight end Mark Bowman. opened up.
Later in the quarter the lead increased to 14–0 on a 74-yard pass from Brown to four-star junior Marcus Harris. Harris caught the ball quickly and turned on the jets to reach the end zone.
Brown completed 17 of 22 passes for 298 yards and four touchdowns.
Serra used the wildcat, spread five receivers on one side of the field, called a fake punt and field goal, recovered an onside kick but with minimal success.
Mater Dei scored again late in the first half on a 12-yard TD pass from Brown to Jonah Smith, making the score 21–0 at the halftime break.
Last season, an undefeated Serra team, which averaged 36.6 points per game, lost 45–0 to St. John Bosco in the state open championship game.
The Padres scored an average of 43.25 points per game while going 12–0 this season, which included wins over Folsom and De La Salle and West Catholic Athletic League and Central Coast Section championships.
Serra had 40 yards and zero points in three quarters against Mater Dei.
So the story goes.
In California during this era, two teams played at a level that no one in Northern California has reached and very few teams have reached in Southern California.
Mater Dei increased the margin to 28–0 on an 8-yard run by four-star junior Jordan Davison, and to 35–0 on a 31-yard touchdown pass from Brown to Jack Ressler early in the fourth quarter.
Before Serra took the field on Saturday night, he watched Folsom – a team it defeated in August – hoist the state championship trophy by winning the Division 1-A title with a 20-14 victory over St. Bonaventure.
If Serra had lost to Folsom and/or De La Salle, it might have had a chance to win another division this weekend.
Instead, a senior class that included standout players such as Jabari Mann, Joseph Bey, Maeliuki Smith and Danny Niu would leave Serra without a state title, but as the top team in NorCal during its era.
(tagstotranslate)high school football