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Santa Ana Mater Dei dominates Long Beach Poly in 30-0 win

Monarchs advance to face Bellflower St. John Bosco in next Saturday's Pac-5 Division championship game at Angel Stadium.

November 29, 2013|Eric Sondheimer
  • Mater Dei running back London Iakopo breaks through a tackle by Poly defensive back Iman Marshall during a touchdown run in the second quarter Friday night in a Southern Section Pac-5 Division semifinal playoff game at Veterans Stadium in Long Beach.
Mater Dei running back London Iakopo breaks through a tackle by Poly defensive… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)

From the opening week of the prep football season in August through Week 13, teams from the powerful Trinity League have been setting the standard for excellence. So it should come as no surprise that next Saturday's Pac-5 championship game at Angel Stadium will be an all-Trinity League matchup.

Santa Ana Mater Dei earned the right to take on unbeaten Bellflower St. John Bosco in a rematch game by turning in a defensive performance that was nothing short of sensational in 30-0 dismantling of defending champion Long Beach Poly on Friday night in a Pac-5 semifinal at Veterans Stadium.

St. John Bosco defeated Mission Hills Alemany, 56-14. St. John Bosco is 13-0 and owns a 24-2 win over Mater Dei (11-2) on Nov. 1.

"I think we can stick with them. We're ready," Mater Dei defensive lineman Malik McMorris said.

If the Monarchs can play defense the way they did against Poly, St. John Bosco had better be worried.

On Poly's final five possessions of the first half, the Jackrabbits' offense consisted of running three plays, then being forced to punt. They had 10 yards passing and minus-14 yards rushing in the first half. It was total domination by a Mater Dei defense that received sacks from McMorris, London Iakopo and Grant Moore.

"We completely shut their run down," Mater Dei Coach Bruce Rollinson said. "We thought we could cover them and get to their quarterback, which we did. The kids played extremely hard."

After a scoreless first quarter, Mater Dei took advantage of a Poly tackling mistake, with Justin Allen breaking loose for a 75-yard touchdown run. Iakopo added a 23-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Chase Forrest and Ben Humphreys made a four-yard touchdown catch with five seconds left before halftime for a 20-0 Mater Dei lead. Allen finished with 100 yards rushing. Forrest was eight for 10 for 153 yards and three touchdowns.

Senior Jonathan Lockett had a 90-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter and added an interception.

"Jonathan Lockett is a great player, and he came up big on both sides of the ball," Rollinson said of the Washington-bound cornerback.

Nothing Poly (11-2) tried offensively worked. The Jackrabbits tried to run the ball up the middle. That's where the 277-pound McMorris proved to be a big roadblock. They tried to get the ball to John "Juju" Smith. But Lockett & Co. shadowed him everywhere.

Now the question comes: Can Mater Dei find a way to defeat the No. 1 team in Southern California?

"We have to learn from the last game," Rollinson said of St. John Bosco. "We have to be very emotional.... We're going to say a lot of prayers and see where they land."

What's clear is that the Monarchs know how to adjust.

"Last year in the championship, they ran over us," McMorris said of Poly. "We came out more physical."

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

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