Impressive statement made by the Monarchs tonight, who played without Amon-Ra St. Brown, who took part in warm-ups but came out for game time in street clothes due to a previous finger injury.
It didn’t matter though as JT Daniels showed himself well with some pretty throws. If you give this guy time he will simply take you apart, and there was one strong throw where he was under pressure to the end zone, it wasn’t complete but he could have easily tucked it, instead he got off a pass that was almost a touchdown. For the second week in a row he also had a nice gain running the ball.
St. Brown’s absence was covered by Nikko Remigio (Cal commit) and Bru McCoy, the talented junior who also played well on the defensive side of the ball. McCoy has some similar traits to a Michael Pittman, tall and lean but plays with a physical edge.
On the defensive side of the ball, the linebacker duo of Solomon Tuliaupupu (photo above) and Mase Funa helped to set the tone in the middle of the field (I thought Funa looked very good) and the Monarchs hassled BG quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson all game. I spent a lot of the game on the Gaels sideline and couldn’t help but be impressed with how the kid kept coming back, he was getting hit a lot.
The one thing I wished I would have seen more of is Palaie Gaoteote. Looked great in warm-ups, was flying around the field a few times, but at the end of the day he simply didn’t have a big impact.
All the credit to the Monarchs tonight in a great atmosphere for high school football. Santa Ana Stadium was full, Clay Helton and Johnny Nansen were in attendance, and Mater Dei was just a step ahead of one of the top teams in the country the whole night. The rest of the CIF-SS was certainly put on notice that the pre-season hype for MD is real, but the real test will come when the Monarchs take the field with St. John Bosco. That will be in the middle of the season, for now they passed the biggest test of the early part of the season with flying colors.