DLS vs. MD: History & More

JT Daniels (left) is one of the best players that has ever walked on the campus at Mater Dei. D.J. Williams (right) of De La Salle would still be ranked as the best prep player that at least one longtime writer in California has ever seen. Photos: Willie Eashman & Scott Kurtz.

It’s only been five times that the Spartans and Monarchs have played in a football game entering this weekend’s CIF Open Division state championship at Cerritos College. After suffering four losses in as many years when the two began a series in the late 1990s, last year’s CIF Open Division victory by the Monarchs was sweet revenge. Go inside for recaps of the previous five games and more state record related tidbits from the two storied programs. We also have our predicted score for the game and more on De La Salle’s record vs. SoCal opponents.

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1998: Proving a point

This was one of the most anticipated football showdowns in California history. To this point, De La Salle (DLS) had won 78 consecutive games and already had set a new national record (previous record was 72). However, the Spartans had not played any prominent schools from the CIF Southern Section’s top division — Mater Dei (MD) fit that criteria. Some could argue that DLS came into the game as an underdog, especially playing at Anaheim’s Edison Field before a hostile crowd. Fox Sports televised the game live which had an announced attendance of 20,781.

Just before halftime, the Spartans had built a 21-7 lead, only to see MD tie the game at 21-21 in the third quarter. DLS quarterback Vince Padilla scored the winning touchdown on a 10-yard keeper with 10:30 to play in the game and the Spartans held on for a 28-21 victory.

DLS star back Atari Callen rushed for 158 yards on 19 carries and scored once. Padilla was 11-of-15 for 110 yards and two touchdowns. Mater Dei quarterback Scott Lukash, who split time with two-way star Matt Grootegoed, was 8-of-14 for 182 yards.

Former DLS head coach Bob Ladouceur retired in 2012 with 399 career wins. Photo: Mark Tennis.

1999: DJ & the sophomore

De La Salle was uncertain where the “home” game versus Mater Dei should be played in 1999. Officials evaluated several venues in the neighboring area, but settled on the University of the Pacific in Stockton, more than 50 miles east of the campus and right off of I-5 for those coming up from Southern California.

A crowd of 15,819 showed up and saw Spartan sophomore quarterback Matt Gutierrez have one heck of a night. He was 15-of-22 for 300 yards and six touchdowns. That’s correct, six touchdown passes. Junior receiver Demetrius Williams caught four passes for 119 yards and scored on three of them. Williams later played several years in the NFL (mostly for the Baltimore Ravens).

Mater Dei couldn’t get anything going against the vaunted DLS defense, led by Mr. Football State Player of the Year D.J. Williams (still the best all-around football player many longtime Northern California observers have ever seen) and fell 42-0. It was the 91st straight win for DLS. The Spartans took advantage of seven Monarch turnovers — five fumbles and two interceptions. It was the Monarchs’ first time being shutout since a scoreless tie to start the season in 1992 versus Servite. It was also their worst defeat since losing to Eisenhower (Rialto) 56-3 in the 1993 CIF-SS Division 1 final.

2000: Leinart almost did it

The two schools were back at Edison Field in Anaheim for the third chapter of the match-up in 2000. This would be the only “close” game of the four played between the schools, but De La Salle would still prevail, 31-28, for it 103rd consecutive win.

MD quarterback Matt Leinart, who later won a Heisman Trophy at USC, did all he could to try and take down the “empire,” as he threw for 401 yards on 25-of-40 and notched four touchdowns. This included two fourth quarter scores to receiver Brian Panique. However, it was not enough.

DLS held leads of 21-14 at half and then 31-14 in the third quarter and MD could never get over the threshold of victory. Another robust crowd of 15,000 was in attendance.

2001: DLS also had LB Poly

The finale of that early series was at Stockton’s UOP again. The Mater Dei offense sputtered and DLS pulled-away with a 34-6 win before a disappointing crowd of just 8,525. It was the Spartans’ 115th straight triumph.

DLS back Alijah Bradley rushed 15 times for 206 yards and scored one touchdown. Overall, the Spartans outgained the Monarchs on offense 380 yards to 162 yards. MD was led by Rafael Rice’s 53 yards rushing. QB Colt Brennan was just 7-of-15 for 70 yards and saw a lot of the Stockton sky as he was sacked five times on the day. Brennan was replaced by freshman quarterback Jason Forcier in the fourth quarter. This was the second-consecutive loss for the Monarchs, who hadn’t suffered that fate since late in the 1990 season.

The 2001 DLS team was perhaps the school’s greatest ever under all-time state coaching wins leader Bob Ladouceur. We have ranked that edition of the Spartans at No. 1 on our list of the state’s all-time best teams. That team is the same one that defeated Long Beach Poly 29-15 in the first-ever matchup between teams No. 1 and No. 2 in the national rankings.

2017: Another all-time great team

Finally, Monarch nation could celebrate with joy and adulation as their boys defeated mighty De La Salle. It wasn’t just any victory, either. The win gave MD the CIF Open Division state championship crown and cemented a mythical national championship and perfect 15-0 record. The Monarchs won 51-21 at Hornet Stadium on the campus of Sacramento State University — having led 31-14 at halftime.

There was no doubt from the beginning which school was firing on all cylinders on both sides of the ball. QB JT Daniels was 20-of-30 for 233 yards and threw three touchdown passes. Two of those went to Amon-ra St. Brown who had eight receptions for 137 yards. Junior Horace “Bru” McCoy also caught a touchdown. MD rushed for 130 yards as a team. The Monarch defense was superb, ratting the Spartans all night. They managed to coax one interception and log two sacks. Senior linebacker Jack Genova registered 15 tackles himself.

After having been outscored 135-55 (-80 points) in the four losses a decade and a half earlier, Mater Dei captured some sense of redemption. Now, they have a chance to write another chapter in this unlikely script. This time the party comes to Southern California and Cerritos College. Can Mater Dei make this two-in-a-row?

Head coach Bruce Rollinson of defending CIF Open Division state champion Mater Dei is well-known for ability to fire up his players. Photo: materdeifootball.net.

Note on Bruce Rollinson’s Career Coaching Record

The legendary Mater Dei head coach, who began coaching the Monarchs in 1989, is being reported by some Southern California media outlets with 299 career wins. He would reach 300 with a win in the CIF Open Division state title. For the state coaching records that we have compiled for many years, however, the total we are going by is 297. The difference is that the Orange County Register and others are going by “official” wins (counting forfeit wins and forfeit losses) but the Cal-Hi Sports records have been and always will be “on the field” totals. Just like Mater Dei fans probably don’t feel like this year’s “loss” to Bishop Amat (La Puente) was legit since their team’s win on the field was later changed to a forfeit defeat, the same happened to Rollinson’s teams earlier in his career when two losses on the field to Edison (Huntington Beach) and Fountain Valley were later changed to forfeit wins. We also don’t count defaults on coaching records and Rollinson has one of those, too (a recent game vs. JSerra). For “on the field” totals, Rollinson still needs three more wins and not one to reach 300 in the coaching records that will be in our state record book. If anyone wants to celebrate 300 if the Monarchs win on Saturday, that’s deserved, too, of course. Folks should be careful in mentioning it, though, that he hasn’t walked across the field 299 times as a winner or that he’s felt like a winner 299 times. That has happened 297 times. We believe the L.A. Times is going by our totals.

De La Salle vs. Orange County Schools

Mater Dei 52, DLS 21 (at Sacramento State)
CIF State Open Division Bowl
DLS 28, Servite 27 (at Cerritos College)
DLS 52, Servite 15 (Concord)
DLS 41, Orange Lutheran 3 (Concord)
DLS 47, Servite 24 (Concord)
DLS 35, Servite 10 (Santa Ana Bowl)
DLS 48, Servite 8 (At Home Depot Center)
CIF State Open Division Bowl
DLS 35, Mission Viejo 7 (at Mission Viejo)
DLS 35, Mission Viejo 28 (Concord)
Mission Viejo 36, DLS 26 (at Mission Viejo)
Mission Viejo 17, DLS 14 (Concord)
DLS 34, Mater Dei 6 (UOP, Stockton)
DLS 31, Mater Dei 28 (Anaheim Stadium)
DLS 42, Mater Dei 0 (UOP, Stockton)
DLS 28, Mater Dei 21 (Anaheim Stadium)
Record: 12-3-0 (.800)

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De La Salle vs. Other Southern California Schools

St. John Bosco 56, DLS 33 (at Sacramento State)
CIF Open Division State Championship
DLS 28, Corona Centennial 21 (at Sacramento State)
CIF State Open Division Bowl
DLS 52, Long Beach Poly 6 (Concord)
DLS 63, Corona Centennial 42 (Home Depot Center)
CIF State Open Division Bowl
St. John Bosco 20, DLS 14 (Home Depot Center)
CIF State Open Division Bowl
DLS 48, Corona Centennial 28 (Home Depot Center)
CIF State Open Division Bowl
DLS 35, Westlake (Westlake Village) 0 (Home Depot Center)
CIF State Open Division Bowl
DLS 28, Crenshaw (LA) 14 (Home Depot Center)
CIF State Open Division Bowl
Corona Centennial 21, DLS 16 (Home Depot Center)
CIF State Division I Bowl
DLS 27, Loyola (LA) 21 (at Glendale HS)
DLS 37, Corona Centennial 21 (Home Depot Center)
CIF State Division I Bowl
DLS 55, Loyola (LA) 14 (Concord)
Canyon (Canyon Country) 27, DLS 13 (Home Depot Center)
CIF State Division I Bowl
DLS 28, La Costa Canyon 7 (Carlsbad)
DLS 28, Long Beach Poly 7 (at Cal-Berkeley)
DLS 56, La Costa Canyon 27 (Concord)
DLS 29, Long Beach Poly 15 (Veteran’s Stadium, Long Beach)
DLS 56, Bishop Amat 6 (Concord)
DLS 36, Rancho Buena Vista 19 (at RBV)
DLS 35, Rancho Buena Vista 14 (Concord)
Record: 16-3-0 (.842)

DLS Breakdown vs. Opponents
Overall Record: 28-7-0
Orange County Opponents: 12-3-0
Other Southern California Opponents (Including SD Area): 16-4-0
Regular Season Record: 21-2-0
State Championship Record: 7-5-0
vs. Mater Dei: 4-1-0
vs. teams north of Fresno since 1991: 296-0-2

Prediction For This Year’s Game:
Mater Dei 38, De La Salle 23

(By Mark Tennis)

We had to make this call earlier than usual since we didn’t do a CIF Bowl Board this week and we wanted to include a predicted score on our previous video presentation.

We have to stick with it, but it’s probably not going to be as high scoring as 38-23 based on the CIFSS D1 final (MD beat St. John Bosco 17-13) and after we watched the DLS defense up close once again in its 42-7 romp past Liberty of Brentwood for the CIF North Coast Section Open Division title.

We also don’t know if any significant Mater Dei starters are missing due to a reported incident after the previous game. The report (in several outlets) just mentioned there were starters who may be suspended for the De La Salle game.

With both teams at full strength, and despite DLS being much better than last year and Mater Dei not being quite as good, it would still seem to be a contest in which the Spartans are going to have to generate some turnovers on defense and not turn it over themselves for them to have a shot. Yes, it would be considered an upset if DLS gets this win. The same defense that shut out Folsom in that first game is strong enough to hold down the Monarchs. Unlike Folsom, though, MD has multiple running backs who can beat you and a tight end and just more possible mismatches to look for.

The same game plan essentially that DLS employed that worked so well against Folsom could work again. Look for single coverage from corners Amir Wallace and Taveis Marshall (even against Bru McCoy). All-American linebacker Henry To’oto’o may mirror MD QB Bryce Young the same way he did Folsom’s Kaiden Bennett. If McCoy is passing, Henry’s coming on the blitz. If McCoy is running, Henry is going to be shadowing him. Another key player the DLS will need to have a big night for it to perhaps win is TE/DE Isaiah Foskey. DLS has had a lot of success when similar players to Isaiah in the past (thinking Austin Hooper and Devin Asiasi) have been dominant on both sides of the ball.

Mater Dei’s defense can’t be forgotten about, either. After what the Monarchs did to St. John Bosco in their recent rematch win in the CIFSS D1 final, that’s a unit that has strength up front, middle backers who cover a lot of ground and playmakers in the secondary, especially junior Elias Ricks. The MD defense just may force too many three-and-outs against the DLS offense.

Chuck Nan is a former banking executive and free-lance sportswriter from Northern California now living in Orange County and is providing Orange County information/writeups to Cal-Hi Sports. Chuck is former sports editor of the Martinez News-Gazette and is author of the book “The San Francisco Giants: Fifty Years by the Bay” published in 2006.

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at markjtennis@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports

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  1. James Riso
    Posted December 7, 2018 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Hi Mark,
    Nobody likes to talk about this since the CIF changed the rules two years ago for transferring players. That every year Mater Dei and St. John Bosco ge t over 20 players or more transfer in with a majority of them being D1 players. You guys talk like their team was together since freshmen year, but they are completely recruited teams. Shame on the CIF for letting these players transfer every year to a different high school with no penalty.

    • Mark Tennis
      Posted December 7, 2018 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

      Supposedly there’s some new paperwork requirements that are going to cut down on it. We’ll see. It’s also not just those two schools. Other Trinity League schools are getting them. LB Poly had a lot two years ago and has quickly pivoted away from that approach with new head coach. It’s the coaching combined with the transfers that really puts MD and Bosco over the top.

  2. phil60
    Posted December 7, 2018 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    The comparative scores against Gorman took place early in the season, so most of that difference can be discounted. Even without the possible suspensions, I like DLS’s defense too much this year, and MD doesn’t have St. Brown. Plus, DLS now has a dual-threat quarterback. I’m guessing we have an upset in the making (28-13).

    • MD87
      Posted December 9, 2018 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

      At least you got the point differential about right. 😉

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