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September 15, 2006

Big Red Becomes Orange Crush

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Santa Ana, CA -- Although Thursday night's match up between rivals Mission Viejo and Mater Dei of Santa Ana featured two FAB 50-ranked teams and the No. 4 and No. 5 teams in the CalHiSports.com state top 25, only two numbers seemed to matter. No. 1 versus No. 2. County bragging rights and pride were on the line as Mission Viejo entered the game as the Orange County Register's top-ranked team and the Monarchs right behind them at No. 2.

With its 17-14 overtime win at Eddie West Field in Santa Ana, Mater Dei snapped Mission Viejo's 47-game winning streak against Orange County opponents and halted the Diablos' regular season win streak at 57 games. It was the second longest reported regular season win streak in state history behind the 145 games De La Salle of Concord won between 1989 and 2004.

"I'm really proud of the kids," Mater Dei head coach Bruce Rollinson told FSN Prime Ticket. "Basically we got physical and pushed them up front. I told the team at halftime if you believe in yourself, love your teammates and your school, go out and win."

In a first quarter that was marred by penalties, both teams went scoreless and Mater Dei (2-0) was held to 13 total yards. Mater Dei finally found some room to operate in the second quarter, but the first field goal attempt of the season by junior Patrick Duffy was wide left from 36 yards. On the first play after the change of possession, Diablos running back Brian Lockridge spun away from one defender and stiff armed another on his way to an 80-yard touchdown and a 7-0 Mission Viejo lead.

Mater Dei, which came into the game No. 47 in the latest FAB 50 National Rankings, was looking to get on the board before halftime but was stymied when defensive end Dominic Glover of Mission Viejo (2-1) sacked sophomore quarterback Matt Barkley (145 yards passing) back to the Monarchs' 47-yard line. On third and 12 after the sack, Barkley was flushed right by Glover and hurried his throw downfield where sophomore Alex Mascarenas picked off Barkley's pass at the Mission Viejo one-yard line. The score remained 7-0 in favor of the Diablos heading into the intermission.

After stopping Mission Viejo on downs and taking over at its own 40-yard line, Mater Dei scored on a 4-play, 60-yard drive that was highlighted by a 32-yard reverse by junior Ryan Mumma. Senior fullback Travis McNaughton hit pay dirt on a short run to tie the game at 7-7.

Just when it looked like Mater Dei had taken the game's momentum away from Mission Viejo, the Diablos answered with a 7-play, 80-yard drive that was capped by a nine-yard touchdown run by senior back Keegan Gogerty. The highlight of the drive was a 37-yard reception by junior wide receiver Warren Reuland, his first of the game.

In the fourth quarter, the Monarchs' highly-touted offensive line started to wear down the Mission Viejo defense. Mater Dei's Ahmed Mokhtar tied the game at 14 on a eight-yard run and gained the majority of the yards on the eight-play, 80-yard drive. The Monarchs had a chance to take the lead and possibly win the game in regulation, but Mokthar, as he was galloping down toward the goal line, fumbled and the football was recovered by Mascarenas at the one-yard line.

Mission Viejo, which came into the contest ranked No. 20 in the FAB 50, started overtime on defense and kept the Monarchs out of the end zone. The Monarchs, however, did score on the drive that began on their own 25-yard line on a 27-yard field goal by Duffy.

When Mission Viejo got its chance on offense from the 25, predictably they went for the end zone on first down but the pass by the Diablos' Kyle Kirchmeyer (144 yards passing) was overthrown in the end zone. The drive stalled and on third and long, instead of possibly running the ball to get kicker David Green in the middle of the field, Mission Viejo offensive coordinator Brett Johnson opted for a halfback pass by Gogerty intended for Rueland that was broken up. Green came on for a 30-yard field goal attempt from the left hash mark and the kick sailed wide right as the Mater Dei sideline celebrated the school's first win over the Diablos after five consecutive losses.

With the win, Mater Dei handed the Diablos their first county and regular season loss since a setback to Esperanza of Anaheim in 2000. The Monarchs also strengthened their stance as the top-ranked team in the Div. II South rankings for the CIF Bowl Championship Games on December 16th at least for one more week. The Monarchs would have to win the competitive CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division title against a playoff field that will likely include Mission Viejo to play in the Div. II title game. Since the two teams could actually meet in the playoffs this season and in the future, this regular season series will not be continued next year.

"Emotion is a big part of preparation at the high school level," Rollinson told FSN Prime Ticket during pre-game warm-ups. "But then you settle in and figure out who's going to get it done between the lines."

For the first time in six meetings this decade, Mater Dei got it done.


Most Consecutive Regular Season Wins
145 - Concord De La Salle, 1989-2004
57 - Mission Viejo, 2000-2006
46 - St. Helena, 1960-65
44 - Concord De La Salle, 1984-89
44 - Modesto Central Catholic, 2001-05
43 - Santa Rosa Cardinal Newman, 1972-77
43 - Salinas Palma, 1988-1992
42 - San Jose Willow Glen, 1958-62
40 - Rolling Hills Estates Peninsula, 1994-98


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