Mission Viejo Downs Mater Dei

Perhaps Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei was looking ahead to its upcoming game with Concord (Calif.) De La Salle, the Student Sports top ranked team in the nation. Or perhaps the Monarchs, ranked No. 29 nationally this week just ran into a buzzsaw of a team in Mission Viejo, which came into the game ranked No. 8 in California according to CalHiSports.com and can now stake its claim as the top team in Orange County.

In any case, Mission Viejo used 222 yards--150 in the first half-- by all-state running back Robbie Dubois to topple Mater Dei 28-14 Saturday night at home while stifling the usually potent Monarchs' offense, holding it to only one first down in the first half.

The host team came out strong, marching down to the Mater Dei seven yard line before a Dubois fumble halted the drive. However, on the very next play, a center-quarterback exchange was fumbled and recovered by Diablo junior cornerback Marcus Daley for the first points of the night.

On the first play of the second quarter, Mission Viejo quarterback Jordan Palmer snuck the ball in from the three to put the Diablos ahead 14-0.

Mater Dei answered with its only points--and only first down--of the half when quarterback Colt Brennan hit Julien Petit on an 80-yard pass to put the score at 14-7 at intermission. The Diablos had a chance to stretch their lead to 10 but a 32-yard field goal attempt was blocked late in the opening half.

With 3:31 left in the third quarter, Mission Viejo extended its lead to 21-7 when Dubois ran for the first of this two second half touchdowns, this one coming from three yards out.

His second score, from the four yard line, came with 6:17 left in the game on a drive set up when linebacker Ryan Powdrell stuffed a Monarchs fourth-and-one attempt in Diablo territory.

Mater Dei added its final points of the night when running back Rafael Rice scored on a one yard run with 4:07 left in the game.

Powdrell, an all-state candidate himself who had 15 tackles on the night, was the stalwart of the defense, which head coach Bob Johnson called out in his post game comments.

"This was a very special win," he said. "Our defense played great all night and our offensive line dominated. Mater Dei is a great team and they'll be back, but tonight we had it all going. Our running game, our defense, the special teams... everything was working tonight."

One other interesting sidenote to the game: with no Div. I college games slated for Saturday, the crowd looked like a "Who's Who" of USC Cardinal and Gold.

Current Trojans who who had a vested interest in rooting for Mission Viejo were two quarterbacks: Carson Palmer, who trained with Johnson while in high school and is the brother of Viejo's quarterback, Jordan; and Diablo alum Billy Hart.

On the Mater Dei side was another signal-caller, Matt Leinart, as well as fellow Monarch grads Matt Grootegoed and Lenny Vandermade, who undoubtedly will have to endure some good-natured ribbing from their teammates until the next time these two Orange County powers meet.

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