Mater Dei Monarchs Football History

Mater Dei High School first opened its doors to 120 students and 20 football players in 1950. The school played its first varsity football games the following year, and the Monarchs won their first two CIF championships in 1956 and 1957.

For more than six decades, Monarch football has been the cornerstone of an athletic program that recently led Sports Illustrated to name Mater Dei the Number 2 High School Athletic Program in America. Competing annually against the best competition in Southern California, Mater Dei has compiled an enviable record for football success:

534 Wins and Only 200 Losses
27 League Championships
9 CIF Championships
2 USA Today National Championships
5 Undefeated Seasons
Only 5 Losing Seasons

In addition, Mater Dei is one of only two high schools in America that has produced two Heisman Trophy winners.

The Rollinson Era

1989 – Present

2016

The 2016 Monarchs unleashed the most prolific offense in Orange County history, as their 747 points broke the county scoring record held by small school power St. Margaret’s.  Throwing to five receivers with scholarship offers from major Division I universities, sophomore quarterback J.T. Daniels shattered the Orange County and CIF records for passing yards and touchdown passes.
 
The Monarchs rolled through their five preleague games, their five league games, and their first three playoff games with a 13-0 record, outscoring opponents by an average score of 55-11, with the starters rarely playing more than half the game.  In the CIF championship game, Mater Dei lost to St.John Bosco.  The 13-1 record was the program’s best in 18 years.
 
Top Players:
 
J.T. Daniels, QB – all state, all county offensive player of the year, all-L.A. Times back of the year, all CIF.
Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR – all-state, all-county, all-LA. Times, all-CIF.
Osiris St. Brown, WR – all-state, all-county, all-L.A. Times, all-CIF.
Ryan Stonehouse, P – all-state, all-county, all-L.A. Times, all-CIF.
Tommy Brown, OL – all-county, all-L.A. Times, all-CIF.
Austin Faoliu, DL – all-county, all-CIF.
Quentin Lake, DB – all-county, all-CIF.
Chase McGrath, K – all-county, all-CIF.

2015

The 2015 season began ominously when Mater Dei’s starting quarterback broke his arm early in the season’s second game.  For the second time in his career, Coach Rollinson rolled the dice and installed a freshman as his new starting quarterback.  The results were outstanding.  J.T. Daniels threw for 3,042 yards and 33 touchdowns, to record one of the best passing seasons in school history.  Combined with the running of tailback Brandon LaMarche, who ran for 1,616 yards and 21 touchdowns, Mater Dei fielded one of its best offensive teams in the last decade.

For the third year in a row Mater Dei went 5-0 in preleague play before finishing its Trinity League games with a 3-2 record, good for second place behind St. John Bosco.

In the Pac-5 playoffs, the Monarchs beat Lakewood and Gardena Serra before losing to Corona Centennial by a touchdown in the semifinal game.

Top Players:

Frank Martin, OL – all-state, all-county, all-L.A. Times, all-CIF.
Curtis Robinson, LB – all-state, all-county, all-L.A. Times, all-CIF.
Brandon LaMarche, RB – all-county, all-CIF.
Jed Smith, LB – all-county defensive player of the year.

2014

2014 will be remembered as the year of the defense.  With arguably the best front seven in school history, the defense was one of the best Mater Dei has had in 20 years.

As in 2013, the Monarchs rolled through their preleague schedule with a perfect 5-0 record, and as in 2013, they finished league play at 3-2 to finish third in the Trinity League.

In the Pac-5 playoffs, Mater Dei defeated Westlake before losing to Corona Centennial by a field goal in the quarterfinals.

Top Players:

Malik McMorris, RB/DL – all-state, all-county, all-L.A. Times, all-CIF.
Olive Sagapolu, OL/DL – all-county, all-CIF.
Gerran Brown, LB – all-county, all-CIF.

2013

The 2013 season was almost a replay of the Monarchs’ successful 2013 campaign.  After storming to a perfect 5-0 preleague record, Mater Dei cooled off a little to finish 3-2 in league play and again finish second to St. John Bosco.

The Pac-5 playoffs began with wins over Oaks Christian, Mission Viejo and Long Beach Poly that allowed the Monarchs to reach the championship game for the second consecutive year, a feat they hadn’t accomplished in 14 years.  The season ended on a sour note with a 34-7 loss to St. John Bosco in the championship game.

Top Players:

Jonathan Lockett, WR/DB – all-state, all-county defensive player of the year, all-L.A. Times, all-CIF.
Malik McMorris, RB/DL – all-county, all-CIF.

2012

2012 marked a return to normal for Mater Dei, as they not only had an excellent season, but they returned to the CIF Pac-5 championship game for the first time in ten years.

In preleague play, the Monarchs were 4-1, losing only to L.A. City powerhouse Narbonne.  In Trinity League play, Mater Dei also went 4-1, losing to St.John Bosco and finishing second to the Braves in the final league standings.

The Monarchs opened the Pac-5 playoff with convincing wins over Lakewood, Alemany and St. Bonaventure, before again meeting long-time rival Long Beach Poly in the championship game.  Mater Dei lost the title game 35-17, but proved they were back after their only poor season.

Top Players:

Thomas Duarte, WR/LB – all-state, all-county offensive player of the year, all-L.A. Times player of the year, all-CIF.
J.C. Genova, RB/LB – all-county, all-CIF.

2011

2011 was the kind of rebuilding year that comes along every once in a while.

The Monarchs went 2-3 in preleague play by beating long-time rival Edison and Gardena. They then also went 2-3 in Trinity League play, defeating Santa Margarita and JSerra. Mater Dei finished fourth in the final league standings.

2010

The 2010 regular season was a carbon copy of 2009.  The Monarchs again went 3-2 in preleague play, as well as 3-2 in Trinity League games for a third-place league finish.

In the Pac-5 playoffs, Mater Dei defeated Long Beach Poly and Tesoro in the first two rounds before losing to Mission Viejo in the semifinal game.

Top Players:

Victor Blackwell, WR – all-state, all-county, all-CIF.

2009

The 2009 season began with Mater Dei going 3-2 in preleague play, and following that by also going 3-2 in Trinity League games to finish the season in third place.

The Monarchs lost in the first round of the Pac-5 playoffs to Bishop Amat to finish a disappointing year.

Top Players:

Chris Ward, OL – all-state, all-county, all-L.A. times, all-CIF.
Victor Blackwell, WR – all-county, all-CIF.

2008

In 2008, Mater Dei started the season with a 3-2 preleague record.  They followed that by winning their first four Trinity League games before losing in the last game of the regular season to Orange Lutheran.  The Monarchs again finished in a three-way tie for the league championship with Orange Lutheran and Servite.

Mater Dei defeated Long Beach Jordan in the first round of the Pac-5 playoffs before falling to Tesoro in the quarterfinal game.
Matt Barkley passed for 2,884 yards and 23 touchdowns in his senior season to end his career as the county’s all-time passing yardage leader at that time.  The year also marked the 20th consecutive season that head coach Bruce Rollinson was undefeated against arch-rival Servite.

2007

The 2007 team will be remembered as the greatest offensive team in school history.  Averaging over 40 points and 435 yards per game, the Monarchs topped 50 points four times and 40 points two others.  Throwing to four outstanding wide receivers, quarterback Matt Barkley passed for a county and school record 3,576 yards and 35 touchdowns.

The season began with seven straight wins, including a 5-0 preleague records and a 2-0 Trinity League start.  Mater Dei lost their only league game to Orange Lutheran to finish with a 3-1 league record, good for a three-way share of the league title with Orange Lutheran and Servite.

This was the inaugural year of Monarchs 4 Marines, and the Monarchs Football Team proudly dedicated it’s 2007 football season to the U.S. Marine Corps – First Marine Division headquartered at Camp Pendleton and serving in Iraq. Each player was honored to wear the Guadacanal patch on their jerseys.

The Monarchs defeated Tesoro in the first round of the Pac-5 playoffs before losing to Crespi in the quarterfinals.

Top Players:

Matt Barkley, QB – all-state, all-L.A. Times player of the year, all-county offensive player of the year, all-CIF.
Khaled Holmes, OL – all-state, all-county, all-CIF.
Robbie Boyer, WR – all-county, all-CIF.
Cameron Meredith, DL – all-county, all-CIF.
Andrew Abbott, WR/DB – all-county, all-CIF.

2006

In 2006, Mater Dei moved into the new private school Trinity League.  The Monarchs rolled through the preleague schedule, winning all five games.  They then proceeded to win three of five league games to finish tied for third in the final standings.

The Monarch season ended in the first round of the new Pac-5 playoffs when they lost to Long Beach Poly.

Top Players:

Khaled Holmes, OL – all-state, all-county, all-L.A. Times.
Travis McNaughton, RB/LB – all-state, all-county, all-CIF.

2005

Coach Rollinson was faced with a major decision before the 2005 season began.  Without an experienced quarterback to lead the team, he selected a freshman as the varsity starter for the first time in his 17 years as head coach, and only the second time in school history.  Matt Barkley would go on to start all four years at Mater Dei and set school and county passing records along the way.

After going 3-2 in preleague play, the Monarchs won four of five league games, losing only to Bishop Amat in the last game of the regular season.  Mater Dei finished as co-champions on the Serra League with Servite.  Tailback Ahmed Mokhtar was the catalyst for the offense, running for 1,493 yards and 15 touchdowns.

The Monarchs opened the Div. 1 playoffs with wins over Cabrillo and Colton.  However, Barkley broke his collarbone in the Colton victory, and Mater Dei lost in the semifinals to Loyola.

Top Players:

Ryan Hurtado, DL – all-county, all-CIF.
Joey Tavarez, LB – all-county, all-CIF.
Ahmed Mokhtar, RB – all-county, all-CIF.

2004

The 2004 edition of the Monarchs was one of those teams without a lot of star players who nevertheless played very well and accomplished a lot.  They started the season with a 4-1 record in preleague play, again losing only to the county’s #1 team Mission Viejo.  In a tough Serra League schedule they also went 4-1, losing only to Loyola and winning a league co-championship.

The run ended in the first round of the Div. I playoffs where the Monarchs lost to Esperanza.

Top Players:

Tyler Perkins, OL – all-state, all-county, all-L.A. Times, all-CIF.

2003

For the first time since Coach Rollinson’s first year as head coach, the Monarchs started the season with three straight losses.  But like they did in 1989, they righted the ship to win six of their next seven games.  Mater Dei went 4-1 in the Serra League to finish as co-champions with Loyola.

In the playoffs, the Monarchs defeated Cabrillo and Fountain Valley before losing to Long Beach Poly in the Div. I semifinals.

Top Player:

Brandon Nicolas, OL/DL – all-state, all county, all-L.A. Times, all-CIF defensive player of the year.

2002

2002 started off much better for Mater Dei as they went 4-1 in preleague play, losing only to the county’s #1 team Mission Viejo.  The Monarchs followed that up with a 3-2 record in Serra League action to again finish second, this time behind St. John Bosco.

Things started to roll in the playoffs as Redlands East Valley, Esperanza and Long Beach Poly all fell to the Monarchs to put Mater Dei in the championship game for the eighth time in 12 years.  This time however, the Monarchs lost to Los Alamitos 41-14.

Top Players:

Brandon Nicolas, OL/DL – all-county, all-L.A. Times, all-CIF.
Corey Boudreaux, WR/DB – all-county, all-CIF.
Dominic Rickard, LB – all-county, all-CIF.

2001

The 2001 season did not start well for the Monarchs as they lost three of their first four preleague games.  However, they recovered to win four of their next five, including a 2-1 record in the Serra League, to again finish second behind Santa Margarita.

In the Div. I playoffs, Mater Dei defeated Long Beach Jordan and Redlands before falling to Edison in the semifinal game.

Top Players:

Jeff Manassero, OL – all-county, all-CIF.
Dominick Rickard, LB – all-county, all-CIF.

2000

In 2000, Mater Dei swept to a 6-1 preleague record, again losing only to national #1 De La Salle.  In the Serra League, the Monarchs finished 2-1, losing to league champion Santa Margarita and finishing second.

Mater Dei defeated Long Beach Jordan in the first round of the Div. I playoffs, before losing to Eisenhower in the quarterfinal game.

2000 also marked one of the best pass-catch combinations of Coach Rollinson’s tenure.  Quarterback Matt Leinart threw for 2,852 yards and 26 touchdowns, with 1,300 yards and 15 touchdowns going to standout wide receiver Jeff Diulio.

Top Players:

Matt Leinart, QB – all-state, all county back of the year, all-CIF offensive player of the year.
Jeff Diulio, WR – all-county, all-CIF.
Ian Gunderman, LB – all-county, all-CIF.

1999

Mater Dei moved to the new private school Serra League in 1999, but the results were the same.  After finishing 5-2 in preleague play, the Monarchs swept through the Serra League with a 3-0 record to win the title in the league’s first year.

Mater Dei rolled past Redlands, Alemany and Eisenhower in the first three rounds of the Div. I playoffs before meeting Long Beach Poly in the championship game for the third straight year.  The teams were tied 21-21 after four quarters, and since the CIF had no provision for breaking ties in title games, the two schools were named co-champions.

Mater Dei became the first team in Southern Section history to win five Div. I titles in a nine year span, and only one other school has accomplished that feat since.  The win also made head coach Bruce Rollinson the first coach to win five Div. I titles.  Only one other coach has matched that mark since, and none have ever won six.

Top Players:

Matt Grootegoed, RB/DB – all-state, all-county defensive player of the year, all-county player of the year, all-CIF defensive player of the year.
Tyler Kruse, LB – all-county, all-CIF.
Dan Owens, OL – all county, all-CIF.
Junior Palacios, RB/DB – all-county, all-CIF.

1998

1998 marked the rise of perhaps the best football player in Coach Rollinson’s 27-year tenure at Mater Dei – running back and safety Matt Grootegoed.  Behind Matt’s bruising running and crushing tackles, the Monarchs went 4-1 in preleague play, losing only to the nation’s #1 team, De La Salle.  In their final South Coast League campaign, Mater Dei again rolled to a 5-0 league record.  In the Monarchs’ seven seasons in the league, they won seven league titles and had an overall league record of 33-2.  Wide receiver Kelvin Millhouse complemented Grootegoed’s running by catching passes for 1,118 yards and 17 touchdowns.

In the playoffs, Mater Dei rolled over Fountain Valley, Notre Dame and Los Alamitos before again meeting Long Beach Poly in the championship game.  This time the Monarchs prevailed 33-26 behind Grootegoed’s 247 rushing yards.  Matt became the only player in Southern Section history to be named the offensive player of the game and the defensive player of the game in a Div. I championship match.  It was Mater Dei’s fourth Div. I title in the last eight years.

Top Players:

Matt Grootegoed, RB/DB – all-state, all-county defensive player of the year, all –county back of the year, all-CIF defensive player of the year.
Lenny Vandermade, OL – all-state, all-county, all-CIF.
Kevin Mitchell, LB – all-state, all-county, all-CIF.

1997

1997 was the year of the streak and the year of the running back.  Following a perfect 14-0 season the year before, the 1997 Monarch team won their first 13 games to set a school record with 27 consecutive wins.  They did it largely on the shoulders of tailback Mike McNair, who set school records by running for 2,671 and 33 touchdowns.  No running back before or since has come within 900 yards of Mike’s mark.

After going 5-0 in preleague play, the Monarchs swept through the South Coast League with another 5-0 record to win their sixth straight league title.

Victories in the playoffs over St. John Bosco, Los Alamitos and Bishop Amat put Mater Dei in the Div. I championship against Long Beach Poly.  In that game, the Monarchs’ winning streak and hopes for another CIF title ended in a 28-25 loss.

Top Players:

Mike McNair, RB – all-state, all-county player of the year, all CIF offensive player of the year.
Joey Boese, DB – all-state, all-county, all-CIF.
Kevin Mitchell, RB/LB – all-county, all-CIF.
Lenny Vandermade, OL/DL – all county, all-CIF.

1996

The 1996 season was to become like a summer rerun of 1994.  For the third time in seven years, Mater Dei won the Div. I championship.  And like in 1994, they finished the season with a perfect 14-0 record.  They were named USA Today national champions again.  And head coach Bruce Rollinson was named national coach of the year again.

Behind wide receiver Rod Perry, who set school records with 1,510 yards and 18 touchdown receptions, the Monarchs followed a perfect 5-0 preleague run, by sweeping through their South Coast League schedule with the same record.

The playoffs followed with wins over Long Beach Jordan, Redlands and Long Beach Poly.  In the championship game Mater Dei defeated Loyola 17-10 to complete their second perfect season in three years.

Top Players:

Rod Perry, WR/DB – all-state, all-county, all-CIF offensive player of the year.
Vince Shinnefield, OL/DL – all-county lineman of the year, all-CIF.
James Farley, RB/DB – all-CIF.

1995

This was a successful rebuilding year for Mater Dei.  After sweeping through the preleague schedule with a 5-0 record, the Monarchs went 4-1 in South Coast League play, losing only to San Clemente and ending the regular season in a three-way tie for the league championship.

In the playoffs, Mater Dei defeated St. John Bosco in the first round before losing to Los Alamitos in the quarterfinals.

Top Players:

Brad Williams, DL – all-state, all-county defensive player of the year, all-county lineman of the year, all-CIF.
Reed Diehl, OL – all-county, all-CIF.
Ryon Holland, LB – all-county, all-CIF.

1994

1994 was a year of firsts.  The team was led by tailback Steve Bodnar, who ran for 1,791 and 26 touchdowns, and by  wide receiver Rod Perry, who gained 1,191 yards and 15 touchdowns through the air.  Mater Dei won its second Div. I championship in four years, but for the first time, they were undefeated at 14-0.  For the first time they were named national champions by USA Today.  And for the first time Coach Rollinson was named the national coach of the year.

After rolling through the preleague schedule at 5-0, the Monarchs were also undefeated in South Coast League play to again win that league championship.

In the playoffs, they defeated Redlands, Loyola and Los Alamitos in the first three rounds to reach the championship game against Bishop Amat.  As in 1991, their opponent was ranked #1 in the country, but Mater Dei came away with a 28-21 win for the championship.

Top Players:

Matt Motherway, OL/DL – all-state, all-county lineman of the year, all-CIF.
Rod Perry, WR/DB – all-county, all-CIF.
Pat Shinnefield, K – all-county, all-CIF.
Bubba Gonzalez, OL/DL – all-county, all-CIF.

1993

In 1993, Mater Dei gave its fans a sign of things to come.  The team went 4-1 in preleague games before rolling to an undefeated 5-0 record and a second consecutive South Coast League championship.

The CIF Div-I playoffs began with wins over St. Paul, Long Beach Poly and Antelope Valley before the Monarchs faced Eisenhower for the third year in a row.  This time, Eisenhower defeated Mater Dei 56-3 in the championship game to end the Monarchs’ season at 12-2.

Top Players

Derrick Ford, DL – all-state, all-county, all-CIF.
Michael-John Rzeznik, WR/DB – all-county, all-CIF.
John Houston, OL/DL – all-county, all-CIF.

1992

The Monarchs moved from the Angelus League to the South Coast public school league for the 1992 season.  Mater Dei was undefeated in preleague play, with the only blemish being a scoreless tie against Servite.  The Monarchs won the league title with a 4-1 record, losing only by one point to Dana Hills.

In the playoffs, Mater Dei rolled past Crespi before losing to Eisenhower in the quarterfinal game and finishing with a 9-2-1 record for the year.

Top Players:

Brian Barajas, WR/DB – all-county, all-CIF.
Parker Gregg, LB – all-county, all-CIF.
Ray Jackson, WR/DB – all-county, all-CIF.

1991

In only his third year as a head coach, Coach Rollinson won his first CIF Division I championship in 1991.  After going 6-0 in preleague play, the Monarchs went 3-1 in Angelus League games to share a three-way tie for the league title, losing only to Loyola,

In the playoffs, Mater Dei easily defeated Quartz Hill, Fontana and Loyola before facing Eisenhower, the #1 team in the nation at the time, in the championship game.  The Monarchs defeated Eisenhower 35-14 to win the CIF Div. I title and finish the season 13-1.

One of the team’s top two top stars was quarterback Billy Blanton, who was named Orange County offensive player of the year and back of the year while passing for 3,485 yards and a school record 36 touchdowns.  The other was TE/LB David Knuff who was the CIF player of the year and had 1,196 yards receiving and 13 touchdowns from his tight end position.

Top Players:

Billy Blanton, QB – all-state, all-county offensive player of the year, all-county back of the year, all-CIF.
David Knuff, TE/LB – all-state, all-county, all-CIF player of the year.
Jason Thies, TE/LB – all-county, all-CIF.

1990

Behind the running of tailback Derek Sparks, who ran for 1,745 yards and 13 touchdowns, the Monarchs won two of five preleague games and went 3-2 in the Angelus League to finish the regular season at 5-5, good for second place in the Angelus League behind league champion Bishop Amat.

In the playoffs, Mater Dei easily defeated Long Beach Poly and Eisenhower before losing to Quartz Hill in the CIF Division I semifinal game to end the season at 7-6.

1989

New head coach Bruce Rollinson began his career at Mater Dei by losing his first three preleague games. However, the team turned its season around to win six of its next seven games. The Monarchs lost only to Bishop Amat to finish 4-1 in league play and share the league co-championship with the Lancers.

The Monarchs lost in the first round of the CIF Division I playoffs to the Redlands Terriers to end Coach Rollinson’s first season at 7-4.

Top Players:

Ryan Motherway, OL – all-state, all-county, all-CIF.