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Mater Dei Defense Knocks the Barons Out With the Blitz


Friday's football game between Mater Dei and Fountain Valley, fortunately, was just that--a football game, won by Mater Dei, 30-14, before an estimated 8,000 at Santa Ana Stadium.

There was concern that the game might be a heavily penalized one. Former Fountain Valley receiver Kelvin Millhouse transferred to Mater Dei in September, a move Fountain Valley appealed and lost. Fountain Valley Coach George Berg said this week that it "was still a sore point" with his team.

But if emotions on both sides were simmering, the game was a relatively clean one. The officials only called on two personal fouls, one on each team.

"It was an emotional week," said Millhouse, who caught one of the four passes thrown his way for 11 yards. "I still consider some guys there my friends. There were a couple of cheap things, but I just tried to block it out."

"What he has gone through is unfair and unfounded," Mater Dei Coach Bruce Rollinson said. "But people will believe what they want to."

Mater Dei's defense had plenty to do with the game being relatively unremarkable. Buoyed by the return of linebacker and leader Kevin Mitchell, the Monarchs blitzed the Barons into oblivion, sacking Fountain Valley quarterback Ryan Breska 10 times for minus-65 yards. Mitchell had 2 1/2 sacks for minus-14 yards and fellow linebacker Dustin Davis had 2 1/2 for minus-27 yards.

The few times he was upright Breska completed nine passes (in 24 attempts) for 166 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. But his negative yardage, attached to Fountain Valley's running total, meant the Barons rushed for only one yard in 26 attempts, and had a net total yardage of 167 yards to Mater Dei's 342.

"On film it looked like Breska was not very mobile, he takes a long look down the field, and their pass patterns take awhile to develop," said Mater Dei defensive coordinator Eric Johnson. "We thought some specific gaps in their line would be open, and we would also switch up the rush."

"You live by that kind of blitz and you die by it," Rollinson said. "One of the keys was our secondary coverage held up, and we gave them a lot of different looks on the rush."

Berg gave the Monarchs' defense its due.

"I was surprised at how effective their blitz package was," Berg said. "They looked more ready to play than we did. We did some things, but they made it hard to get anything going."

On offense Mater Dei got a big night out of tailback Matt Grootegoed, who rushed for 187 yards and three touchdowns in 26 carries. His 40-yard burst with 59 seconds to play sealed the win for Mater Dei.

Quarterback Scott Lukash had a serviceable night, going nine for 21 for 121 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

Mater Dei (10-1) will play Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, 34-27 winner over Long Beach Wilson. Fountain Valley's season concludes at 7-4.

Fountain Valley made an early break for itself, recovering a Grootegoed fumble at the Barons' 36 midway through the first quarter. Breska found Aaron Carter (who caught five passes for 103 yards) open at the Mater Dei 30; and the senior wide receiver caught the pass, spun around and outraced the Monarchs' secondary for a 64-yard touchdown reception.

Carter also kicked the extra point, and Fountain Valley led 7-0.

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