TORRANCE — Mater Dei Coach Bruce Rollinson could have credited the Monarchs' 26-6 victory over Bishop Montgomery Friday to tailback Kealii Clifford, who scored three touchdowns.
But he didn't.
And Rollinson could have given all the praise to quarterback Dan O'Neil, but he didn't.
"The difference was we played defense," Rollinson said. "We knew Bishop would use the run to set up their pass. We knew if we stopped the run they would have trouble throwing."
The Monarchs stopped both Friday night. They held Bishop to only 78 yards total offense, 25 yards rushing.
Mater Dei improved to 4-4 overall and 2-1 in the Angelus League. Bishop Montgomery dropped to 3-5 and 0-3.
"I told the kids that the (league) was our mini-season," Rollinson said. "I told them if they dropped this game, they would back themselves into a corner."
O'Neil, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound senior, completed 14 of 22 passes. His favorite target was wide receiver Tino Chavez, who caught five passes for 97 yards and a touchdown.
Clifford finished with 57 yards in 18 carries, scoring on runs of one, two and one yards.
"I was pleased with O'Neil, and Tino is doing a hell of a job," Rollinson said.
The Monarchs outgained Bishop Montgomery 176 yards to 30 in the first half. O'Neil completed 10 of 17 passes for 146 yards in the first half to lead Mater Dei to a 12-0.
O'Neil completed five passes for 62 yards on the Monarchs' first touchdown drive. Clifford capped the 12-play, 76-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run with 11:56 left in the second quarter.
Mater Dei's point-after attempt by Max Habereder failed, and the Monarchs led, 6-0.
Mater Dei got the ball on Bishop Montgomery's 49-yard line with 2:58 left in the half after a 33-yard punt by Brian Alexander.
On the next play, O'Neil threw to Chavez, who had beaten defensive back Charlie Liane over the middle, for a touchdown.
O'Neil's two-point conversion attempt to John Williams fell incomplete, and the Monarchs led, 12-0.
Clifford scored with 16 seconds left in the third quarter and again on a one-yard dive with 9:44 left in the game to give the Monarchs a 26-0 lead.
Bishop Montgomery's Ralph Zuanich intercepted a pass by backup quarterback Billy Blanton at the Mater Dei 24-yard line to set up the Knights' only score. Tailback Marvin Negrete's one-yard run with 5:26 finished the scoring.