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ORANGE COUNTY PREP FOOTBALL

Monarchs Not Thrilled With 'Average' Win Over Loara

September 16, 2000|MARTIN HENDERSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

This was the calm before the storm for Orange County's top-ranked team.

With only five days of practice before playing the No. 1 team in the state, the last thing county power Mater Dei wanted was the indifferent performance it turned in Friday.

Sure, the Monarchs defeated Loara, 31-6, in front of about 4,000 at Glover Stadium.

But the Monarchs missed three point-after attempts, had eight penalties for 71 yards and looked, in the words of defensive back Brown Faavae, "average."

Faavae was talking about the Monarchs' defense, which held Loara to 11 yards passing and 106 rushing--though only 11 yards rushing in the first half as Mater Dei built a 22-0 lead.

Mater Dei is 2-0; Loara dropped to 0-2.

The Monarchs could have put the game away in resounding fashion. They missed three point-after attempts and a field goal, squandering excellent field position in the process.

Matt Leinart completed nine of 19 passes for 94 yards, but his receivers dropped five passes.

"This is exactly what I feared the most," Mater Dei Coach Bruce Rollinson said. "We didn't improve. We took a step back. And I take full responsibility for that."

Mater Dei was coming off an impressive performance against Fallbrook, the top-ranked team in San Diego County. And next week at Edison Field, the Monarchs will play the top-ranked team in the state, Concord De la Salle. And if they think they can get away with what they got away with Friday against De la Salle . . .

"We could wind up limping out of Anaheim Stadium," Rollinson said. "Our special teams didn't get the job done, and I'm real concerned about execution. We got five days to get them ready."

Mater Dei built a 10-0 lead in the first quarter on Bryan New's 33-yard field goal and, after Liam Fallace's fumble recovery at the 15, a one-yard score by Grant Melton.

Fallace also had a 77-yard interception return in the third quarter.

Darius Williams' 28-yard run set up a five-yard scoring pass from Leinart to Melton. The point-after attempt was blocked by Steven Douglas. Mater Dei led, 16-0.

The Monarchs added another score with 29 seconds left in the half. Williams, who rushed 11 times for 59 yards, scored from two yards; the point-after sailed right.

Mater Dei was never in danger. The Monarchs had outgained Loara, 216-9, at that point. Mater Dei finished with a 249-117 advantage, mostly because Loara put together an 80-yard drive in the third quarter buoyed by runs of 23 and 20 yards by one of the Saxons' quarterbacks, Ryan Gusman.

New added a 37-yard field goal.

"Next week," said Faavae, who had two upfield blocks on Fallace's interception return, "we'll have to play about 10 times better."

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