No. 1 Mater Dei outlasts No. 7 Servite in thriller featuring 83 points

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No. 7 Servite delivered No. 1 Mater Dei its toughest challenge all season. In the end, the top-ranked team in the country showed why it is, in fact, the top team in the country.

The Monarchs broke a tie late in the third quarter and held on for a 46-37 victory over the Friars. Mater Dei three-star running back Quincy Craig scored four touchdowns and five-star running back Raleek Brown had a season-best 162 rushing yards.

After beating St. John Bosco at the beginning of the month, Mater Dei had one more major test on the docket to prove they were the best team in the Trinity League. With just one more regular-season game, a home match against 3-6 JSerra Catholic, the Monarchs are in position to clinch the No. 1 seed in the CIF-SS Division 1 playoffs if they can get one more win.

From there, they’d likely have to beat Servite or St. John Bosco one more time to win the crown.

If Servite walks away regretting how close they were to winning this game, they’ll need the memory of a goldfish for next week. The Friars will take on St. John Bosco for a game that will likely decide the second seed and almost certainly dub one of the two the second-best team in California.

But they shouldn’t hang their head after the Monarchs win. Servite had plenty of positives, including quarterback Noah Fifita’s 306 passing yards and wide receiver Tetairoa McMillan’s 15 receptions for 163 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

The two connected for a touchdown that tied the game at 31 with about two minutes left in the third quarter.

Mater Dei pulled back ahead before the frame came to an end. With a third-and-seven from the 42-yard line, Elijah Brown and Cooper Barkate connected on a deep pass that got the Monarchs all the way to up the 15-yard line. Craig scored on a five-yard rushing score before the quarter came to a close.

The Monarchs then went for the two-point conversion. Holder Ryan Didodo broke his wrist on the play, yet still completed the conversion on a pass to linebacker Malaki Te’o.

Servite scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter but failed to convert a two-point conversion, and then Raleek Brown punched home a 22-yard run midway through the fourth quarter.

Mater Dei defensive end David Bailey had 3.5 sacks, including this big one on a late Servite drive.

Even in a game in which 83 points were scored, Mater Dei’s defense came up when needed on the two-point conversion prevention, Bailey’s sacks and an interception from Zabien Brown with just over a minute left in the game.

Servite held strong and competed against the Monarchs better than any other team had done this season.

To prove it’s the second-best team in California, it will have to do so against St. John Bosco next week, a challenge that will not be any easier than this weekend.





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