Column: In rout of Duncanville, Mater Dei football shows they’ve widened the gap between themselves and other national powers

DUNCANVILLE, Texas — Mater Dei put the rest of the country on notice in their 45-3 rout of Duncanville on Friday night. A game that was supposed to be tight featuring two of the top teams in the country was remarkably one sided.

Since 2000, teams from California have faced off against teams from Texas 34 times with Texas winning 20 games. The Monarchs gave the Golden State their 14th win in emphatic fashion showing not only how far they – as well as arch rival St. John Bosco – have widened the gap from the rest of the pack in California, but also how far they’ve widened the gap nationally. 

Duncanville came into this game as a consensus top 25 team in the country — and Mater Dei won by so many points, the clock would have run in the fourth quarter had it been played in California. The Monarchs are 59-3 in the last five years. They’re actively setting the standard for what the best high school football program in America looks like. 

“We came out here and made a statement,” Mater Dei senior receiver CJ Williams said postgame. He caught one of the Monarchs’ seven TDs in the game – and he’s right. His team certainly did make a statement. 

“They came here because they thought that they were going to get a good, competitive game,” Duncanville head coach Reginald Samples said. “I had to apologize because I’m sorry that we played so poorly. They wasted a trip. They could have stayed home and scrimmaged the JVs.”

Samples is using hyperbole there, but he’s right to compare the game to a varsity team taking on a JV group. For many stretches of the game, that’s what it looked like. 

What stood out the most about Mater Dei was their team speed.

When Duncanville quarterback Solomon James dropped back to throw his first pass of the night, Mater Dei cornerback Domani Jackson jumped the route for a pick-six. 

On Mater Dei’s first offensive play, Monarch running back Raleek Brown scampered down the sideline for a 75-yard touchdown. 

In the second quarter, Mater Dei junior linebacker Leviticus Su’a hunted down a Duncanville tight end on a third and five completion for no gain. He closed to the ball so quickly, it looked like something you’d see on Animal Planet — a predator going in for the kill. Duncanville turned the ball over on downs the next play. 

In the second half, Su’a was at it again, hitting a Panther receiver so hard in the backfield on a jet sweep he left the game. 

Those are a few of the highlights for the Monarchs, but those plays weren’t particularly out of the ordinary — they were the standard. Mater Dei was just on another level.

“I’m really proud of this team,” Monarchs head coach Bruce Rollinson said. “In a game like this, you’re counting on your good guys to play really well and you’re great ones to play great.”

And that’s what happened. Like Williams, Brown and Su’a, Mater Dei sophomore QB Elijah Brown’s play belonged in the great category too. He completed 18 of 22 passes for 265 yards and three touchdowns. His offensive line gave him plenty of time to work through his reads and make plays. That was a unit Rollinson called a “wildcard” before the season started. 

If there is one takeaway from the Monarchs beatdown, let it be this: elite teams in high school football looking to knock off Mater Dei can’t only play great defense, or have a great rushing attack. A one dimensional team won’t get close to this group — that was proven on Friday. Duncanville has a solid ground game led by Colorado State running back commit Malachi Medlock, but on offense that was about it. Their passing attack and offensive line struggled and they ended up losing 45-3. Again, this isn’t a bad team. It’s a squad with over a dozen Division 1 recruits on it. 

It’s going to take a 48-minute complete performance from one of the nation’s best to beat this Mater Dei group. Outside of St. John Bosco or Florida power IMG Academy, it doesn’t currently look like there’s another team in the country that could take this team down. That’s how good they looked in their opener.

You’ve been warned. 

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