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PREP EXTRA / SATURDAY FOOTBALL PULLOUT : Mater Dei Recovers to Beat Trabuco Hills


MISSION VIEJO — Mater Dei played a doubleheader Friday night at Trabuco Hills.

First, the Monarchs, second-ranked in Orange County and No. 3 in the state, overcame their incessant fumbling and bumbling. Then, and only then, did they manage to defeat Trabuco Hills, 23-10, in the South Coast League opener.

It was a big victory for Mater Dei (6-0, 1-0 in league play), putting the Monarchs in good position to win the league championship.

Trabuco Hills, making its South Coast League debut after moving from the Pacific Coast League this season, figured to be Mater Dei's toughest competition.

Friday, Mater Dei's most difficult opposition wore red-and-white uniforms and answered to the nickname Monarchs.

By halftime, Mater Dei hardly looked like one of the state's top teams and found itself tied, 10-10. Any flair the Monarchs might have shown in rolling through nonleague play undefeated was clearly absent in the first half.

Three fumbles certainly didn't help matters, contributing greatly to the tie and lifting Trabuco Hills' spirits.

Eventually, Mater Dei straightened itself out, wearing down Trabuco Hills with a relentless rushing attack in the second half.

After halftime, Mater Dei Coach Bruce Rollinson seemed determined to keep things simple. For the most part, he had quarterback John Flynn turn and give the ball to tailback Steve Bodnar.

It worked, and the Monarchs lost only one more fumble.

Flynn completed one crucial pass, a seven-yard toss to tight end Rod Fraser for what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown with 8 minutes 5 seconds left in the third quarter.

Bodnar finished off Trabuco Hills (4-2, 0-1) with a 14-yard touchdown run with 3:13 left in the game.

After gaining 47 yards in nine carries in the first half, Bodnar finished with 152 yards in 26 carries. Fullback Joey Trampush added 103 yards in 13 carries.

Trabuco Hills, so strong offensively in the first half, managed little in the second half. A 58-yard touchdown pass play from quarterback J.C. Pintsak to Laquent Fobbs in the first quarter caught Mater Dei's secondary by surprise.

Fobbs slipped into the clear, caught Pintsak's pass on the run, then sprinted alone down the sideline for the score.

In the second half, the Monarchs made sure that didn't happen again, covering Fobbs with two defenders most of the time.

He still finished with six receptions for 125 yards, but never had much running room once he caught his passes.

Neither Pintsak nor Chad Collins, who relieved at quarterback in the fourth quarter, could rally the Mustangs after halftime, and Mater Dei survived the upset bid.

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