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New Quarterback Guides Mater Dei

Kyle Woody passes for 264 yards -- 229 in the first half -- and two touchdowns in a 21-7 victory over Orange Lutheran.

September 11, 2004|Martin Henderson | Times Staff Writer

If Jason Forcier had not left Santa Ana Mater Dei High, Kyle Woody would have been playing linebacker.

And the Monarchs might still be looking for a vertical passing game.

But with Woody taking his first varsity snaps, the senior showed he was ready for his chance in the season opener.

He passed for 264 yards, 229 in the first half, and led Mater Dei, ranked No. 14 in the Southland by The Times, to a 21-7 victory Friday over No. 11 Orange Lutheran at Santa Ana Stadium in front of about 7,500.

He completed eight of 15 passes overall. He completed his first pass -- on his first varsity play -- to wide-open Mike Orozco. The ball traveled about 45 yards through the air, and yielded an 80-yard score and a 7-0 lead just 12 seconds into the game against the broken coverage.

It was a big night for rookies, because Orozco was making his first varsity start too.

Woody's arm provided a 14-0 lead just 67 seconds into the second quarter when he connected with Kyle Brown on a 49-yard scoring pass play. It was the climax of five-play, 92-yard drive.

Five of Woody's first six completions were at least 37 yards against an Orange Lutheran defense that prides itself on its defensive line and secondary.

Orange Lutheran (0-1), which won last year's game between the private schools, 34-14, drove 76 yards in 13 plays to cut the lead in half, 14-7, as Donny Lee scored from 16 yards on a drive that benefited from a personal foul after stopping the Lancers on third down.

Woody, a linebacker last season, would have been there Friday if Forcier had not gone south to San Diego.

"The opportunity presented itself," said Woody, 19-1 as a starting quarterback in Mater Dei's lower levels. "I worked hard in the off-season. I'm a winner. I don't like to lose."

Coach Bruce Rollinson said as much: "I forgot that he was a gamer."

Woody had some help. Rollinson praised the play of his offensive line, which provided the protection for Woody to excel.

"I told the kids, we need to start chipping away at getting back some respect for the program," Rollinson said.

The Monarchs can take a big step toward that end Thursday against No. 1 Mission Viejo at Cal State Fullerton.

Mater Dei scored the only touchdown of the second half with 1:13 left in the third quarter. Woody's long game played a role as he connected on a 24-yarder to Robert Dubrish on a third-and-10 situation. That kept alive the 80-yard drive, and set the stage for a two-yard run by Rick Russell, who gained 65 yards in 17 carries.

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