Year-in and year-out, one of the premier high school football programs in the nation is California’s Mater Dei. The program annually faces one of the toughest schedules in the country playing in the Trinity League as well as scheduling several of the best programs nationwide. The 2021 season is no exception as Mater Dei kicks it off at Corona Centennial, a school that had a 57-game Big VIII winning streak broken last season. A week later, the Monarchs head to Texas to take on Duncanville, which finished the 2020 campaign ranked No. 14 nationally.
The shortened 2020 season in California was played earlier this spring. Mater Dei finished 5-0 with a huge 34-17 win over rival St. John Bosco to end the season. The CIF-Southern Section playoffs were canceled, but the Monarchs will look to add another state championship in 2021. Mater Dei has won 11 CIF-SS championships as well as four USA Today national titles.
Head coach Bruce Rollinson has been at the helm of the Mater Dei program for 30 years. All he has done is produce 300 wins and seven of those CIF-SS championships. With 23 more victories, Rollinson will become the all-time winningest coach in CIF-Southern Section history. Rollinson and the Monarchs lose a number of FBS recruits, but the program returns six starters on offense and six more on defense.
Gone are LB Raesjon Davis (USC), WR Kyron Ware-Hudson (USC), CB Jaylin Davies (Oregon), WR Cristian Dixon (Michigan), RB Marceese Yetts (Air Force), OL Ross Masculi (San Diego State), OL Terrance Caldwell (Cornell) and OL George Miki-Han (Colorado State).
In the shortened spring season, Mater Dei averaged 41.6 points per game on offense led by QB Elijah Brown, who became just the fourth quarterback in school history to start as a freshman. Brown is in elite company as the other three are former NFL players Todd Marinovich and Matt Barkley and University of Georgia starter J.T. Daniels.
Brown completed 69.2 percent of his passes for 973 yards and 16 total touchdowns in Mater Dei’s shortened spring season. He’s back to guide an offense that is loaded with talent. Raleek Brown, a 2022 RB, is committed to Oklahoma, and ’22 C.J. Williams is the best wide receiver in the state. He has offers from every major Power 5 program in the country.
BJ Tolo (6-1, 330) is a 2023 recruit with offers from Colorado and Kansas State. Tolo started every game as a freshman and anchors the offensive line. The Monarchs will also welcome 2024 DeAndre Carter to the offensive line. Carter is a massive 6-4, 340 and compares favorably to former Mater Dei and Ohio State All-American Wyatt Davis. Carter has an early offer from USC.
While the offense was busy lighting up the scoreboard last season, the Mater Dei defense was equally impressive in shutting down opposing offenses. The Monarchs allowed just 57 total points for an average of 11.7 per game.
Leading the charge once again in 2021 is linebacker David Bailey (6-4, 215). Bailey is an absolute freak with the ability to line up and rush the passer, chase down opposing running backs, and cover receivers in space. The ’22 prospect is uncommitted with USC, UCLA, Stanford, and Cal high on his list of potential landing spots.
Bailey isn’t the only star on the Monarchs defense. Domani Jackson is another ’22 prospect who is EFN’s highest-rated DB in his class. At 6-1, 180 with elite track speed, Jackson is headed to USC at cornerback. Other ’22 prospects on Mater Dei’s defense include Quincy Craig who can play corner or safety. Craig also runs on the Monarchs 4X100m relay team in the spring. He holds an Arizona State offer.
Josh Hunter is a physical ’22 defensive back who will likely be a safety at the next level. His most recent offers were San Diego State and Colorado State. Jacob Rich Kongaika (6-2, 280) is a strong, quick defensive lineman with several offers and ’23 LB Leviticus Su’a is possibly the best inside linebacker in the state. Su’a holds offers from the likes of Michigan, Oregon, Penn State, and Washington. Playing alongside Su’a is Tre Edwards (6-1, 220) who holds over a dozen offers already.
Think of the Iron Bowl – Alabama-Auburn – or Michigan-Ohio State. Each and every year, Mater Dei takes on St. John Bosco in one of the fiercest high school rivalries in the nation. Both teams are typically ranked high in national polls and 2021 is no exception. MaxPreps latest poll has the Monarchs at No. 1 and St. John Bosco at No. 3.
That will only add fuel to the fire for this season’s big game which takes place on Oct. 1 at St. John Bosco. Last season, the Braves grabbed a 14-7 lead at the end of the first quarter. Then, the Monarchs took over.
Brown threw a second quarter 26-yard scoring pass to Williams and another to Ware-Hudson just minutes later. Brown would finish 14-of-23 for 203 yards and four touchdowns as Mater Dei won easily 34-17.
In 2019, the two teams met twice with Mater Dei winning the regular season matchup 38-24. The teams then met again in the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 playoffs. St. John Bosco got the best of the Monarchs in a 39-34 victory.
The Monarchs are loaded on offense with six returning starters led by their sophomore quarterback Brown, RB Raleek Brown, and Williams at wide receiver. The defense also returns six starters and should be outstanding. The Mater Dei roster features over two dozen players that hold FBS offers and has what it takes to not only win the Trinity League, but also state and national championships.