If there were one clear lesson learned Saturday during the seven-on-seven Dana Hills passing tournament, it's that Santa Ana Mater Dei has a capable replacement for graduating all-star Thomas Duarte.
Jonathan Lockett, a defensive back-receiver, showed that he's ready to take on increased responsibilities. He was the best player on the field from morning until early evening in leading Mater Dei to a 7-0 record. He caught the game-winning two-point conversion in the championship game against West Hills Chaminade, a 14-13 victory.
Duarte, a receiver-linebacker headed to UCLA, meant so much to the Monarchs, who made last season's Pac-5 Division championship game. But Lockett is faster and just as athletic. And the Monarchs have a strong supporting cast. Quarterback Chase Forrest, who still doesn't have a scholarship offer, outplayed several higher-profile quarterbacks. He didn't even get to show off his strong running ability because there's no rushing the passer in seven-on-seven competitions.
Mater Dei has little experience at the receiver position, but that doesn't mean the Monarchs don't have talent with the likes of juniors Kyle Penniston and Ben Humphreys. It's still going to come down to what kind of line Mater Dei has for running back Justin Allen.