Southern California's High School Sports Blog

Football: Daniels Helps Mater Dei Clinch State, National Titles (12/16/17)

Mater DEi of Santa Ana celebrates its 52-21 victory over De La Salle of Concord in the CIF State Open Division championship on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017. Photo/NBC Sports Bay Area.

When you are facing NorCal-powerhouse De La Salle of Concord, which has been to all 12 CIF State Bowl championship games in the modern era, it’s not supposed to be easy.

USC-committed QB JT Daniels made it look easy … and he’s only a junior.

USC-commit JT Daniels of Mater Dei of Santa Ana. Photo/Eric Ramos.

Daniels completed 20 of 33 passes for 233 yards and three TDs without an interception and rushed for 43 yards and two TDs to help the Mater Dei of Santa Ana defeat the Spartans, 52-21, in the CIF State Open Division championship game on Saturday night at Sacramento State.

The Monarchs won their first state title and clinched the mythical national championship with the victory.

“It’s these kids,” Monarchs coach Bruce Rollinson said. “I’m too old. I can’t even describe how happy I am for these athletes. To start out No. 1, the pressure that was on us, and then to go 15 straight and still end up No. 1, earning a state championship on the field, and by design I guess we can say we are national champions. So it’s for the kids and all these great fans that traveled with us, baby. Thank you. We love you. We did it.”

SCORE: Mater Dei 52, De La Salle 21.

RECORDS: Mater Dei (15-0), De La Salle (11-2).

KEY STATS: De La Salle fumbled eight times, losing four of them. Mater Dei ended up creating a total of five turnovers and scoring 28 points off turnovers.

PIVOTAL MOMENT: Daniels set the tone on the opening drive, completing 4 of 4 passes for 67 yards, including a 37-yard TD pass to Amon-Ra St. Brown. The Monarchs never looked back and the Spartans were never in the game.

NOTES: Mater Dei was all over De La Salle from the opening kickoff. Daniels hooked up with Amon-Ra St. Brown for a 37-yard TD pass, Daniels scored on a 1-yard TD run and Shakobe Harper added a 16-yard TD run to make it 21-0 with 1:44 left in the opening quarter. … The Spartans stopped the bleeding briefly after recovering a Mater Dei fumble and going in for a 3-yard TD run by Kairee Robinson to make it 21-7 with 6:07 left in the first half. The Spartans recovered the ensuing pooch kick, but Zion Alefosio’s 86-yard interception return for a TD bumped the lead back to 28-7 for the Monarchs. … Nicolas Lopez added a 28-yard FG and Mater Dei had a 31-7 lead. … Robinson’s 1-yard TD run in the closing seconds of the half made it 31-14 at the break. … Moses Sepulona recovered a fumble for the Monarchs to start the second half that led to Daniels’ 2-yard TD pass to Bru McCoy for a 38-14 advantage. … Daniels 40-yard TD run made it it 45-14 with 4:45 left in the third quarter. … Henry To’oto’o made sure De La Salle wouldn’t get running clocked with a 1-yard TD run to cut the lead to 45-21 with 42 seconds left in the third quarter. … Daniels hooked up with St. Brown one more time on a 22-yard TD strike to make it 52-21 on the second play of the fourth quarter. … The Monarchs finished with 139 rushing yards, Harper leading the way with 50 yards and a TD on nine carries. St. Brown had eight catches for 137 yards and TDs to lead Mater Dei’s receivers. … De La Salle used four QBs and fnished with 110 passing yards. … Robinson had 101 yards and two TDs on 15 carries and To’oto’o had 62 yards and a TD on 16 carries as the Spartans finished with 135 rushing yards on 56 attempts (2.4 yards per carry). …

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