PREP FOOTBALL : Mater Dei Defeats Santa Ana Valley, 21-6

September 19, 1986|STEVE LOWERY | Times Staff Writer

Mike Curtius, Mater Dei High School quarterback and fall replacement for the Todd Marinovich show, passed for 250 yards and 2 touchdowns to help Mater Dei to a 21-6 victory over Santa Ana Valley Thursday in front of 2,800 in Santa Ana Stadium.

Curtius, a 6-foot 2-inch, 175-pound senior, completed 19 of 25 passes, including a 51-yard scoring play to Jim O'Brien in the first quarter and a 22-yard touchdown pass to Robby Smith in the second. If Curtius keeps this up--he was 10 of 19 for 114 yards and a touchdown in Mater Dei's opener against Fountain Valley--the days of post- wunderkind depression at Mater Dei will be numbered.

Curtius is starting because Marinovich, who threw for 1,877 yards last season as a sophomore, transferred to Capistrano Valley. Marinovich's decision had Mater Dei Coach Chuck Gallo lamenting the two years they had devoted to him.

"We lost a lot of magic when Todd left," he said during summer workouts.

But any sadness felt by Gallo was definitely not shared by Curtius. A year older than Marinovich and the No. 2 quarterback last season, Curtius figured he'd finish out his career at Mater Dei with a clipboard in his hands.

"I was just hoping the odds would work in my favor," he said. "I really wanted to play."

So the chance came, and so far he has made the most of it. He completed 13 of 16 passes in the first half for 170 yards.

The 51-yard pass play to O'Brien was something to behold, finding the receiver in stride at Santa Ana Valley's 20-yard line.

O'Brien, a 6-1, 170-pound senior, caught 8 passes for 138 yards. He isn't fast, but O'Brien has exceptional hands and does a good job getting inside his man.

"He's a possession receiver," Gallo said. "We can depend on him. Everyone forgets, that kid caught 57 passes last season. He may not be fast, but he gets to the ball."

Matt Spence closed out Mater Dei's and the game's scoring when he went into the end zone from four yards out.

Santa Ana Valley scored its only touchdown late in the first quarter on a five-yard run by Paul Peters.

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