Football in high school: No. 3 Mater Dei won the California Open Division championship after dominating No. 19 Serra 35-0.
Monarchs win fourth state championship since 2017, senior quarterback Elijah Brown ends historic career with 42-2 record.
For the fourth time starting around 2017, No. 3 Mater Dei (St Nick Ana) is California’s Open Division state champion. The Rulers overwhelmed No. 19 Serra (San Mateo) 35-0 on Saturday at Saddleback School behind four score passes from senior quarterback Elijah Brown.
Under first-year head coach Frank McManus, Mater Dei finished 13-1 with the lone loss coming against rival No. 5 St. John Bosco (Bellflower) in October. That setback was avenged in the Southern Section Division 1 championship as the Monarchs won 35-7 over the Braves.
Headed to Stanford next year, Brown threw three of his four touchdown passes in the first half to help Mater Dei build a 21-0 lead. In his four years as the program’s starter, the Monarchs went 42-2 with two state titles and a national championship in 2021.
Brown’s first touchdown pass was a 16-yarder to 6-foot-5, 220-pound freshman tight end Mark Bowman with 4:56 left in the first quarter. Bowman, who has offers from Colorado State, Mississippi and Texas, finished the season with four touchdown receptions.
The scoring continued later in the quarter as Brown found junior wide receiver Marcus Harris for a 74-yard bomb to give Mater Dei a 14-0 lead.
As the first half came to a close, sophomore Shaun Scott left his imprint on the contest by blocking a punt with two minutes remaining. That led to a 13-yard touchdown pass from Brown to sophomore Jonah Smith, making the score 21-0 at halftime.
Mater Dei continued its scoring in the second half when junior four-star running back Jordon Davison scored his 10th rushing touchdown of the year on an 8-yard run to make it 28-0 with 7:06 to play in the third quarter.
The running clock began when the score reached 35-0 after Brown found senior Jack Ressler for a 31-yard touchdown with 11:50 left in the game.
The Monarchs recorded their fifth shutout of the season despite Serra getting the ball into Mater Dei territory on multiple occasions.
Serra reached the state championship for a third consecutive year. The Padres fell to the eventual national champion in each of the last two seasons; Mater Dei in 2021 and St. John Bosco in 2022.
Senior quarterback Maealiuaki Smith of Serra helped the program go 25-2 over the past two seasons with both losses coming in the state championship game.