SBLive is previewing the Top 50 high school football teams in California ahead of the 2022 season. Here’s an inside look at the Mater Dei Monarchs of the CIF Southern Section, the No. 2 team in our countdown.
- 34th season (329-86-2)
- 8 CIF championships and 4 state titles
2021 AT A GLANCE
- Overall record: 12-0
- League record: 5-0 (1st place in Trinity League)
- Won Division 1 Southern Section championship and Open Division CIF state championship
(All games are at 7 p.m. unless noted)
- Aug. 19 vs. West (Utah)
- Aug. 26 at Bishop Gorman (Nev.)
- Sep. 2 at Corona Centennial
- Sep. 9 vs. La Mirada
- Sep. 16 vs. Mililani (Hawaii)
- Sep. 30 at JSerra
- Oct. 7 vs. St. John Bosco
- Oct. 14 vs. Orange Lutheran
- Oct. 21 at Santa Margarita
- Oct. 27 at Servite
- 6 on offense
- 6 on defense
GRADUATED ALL-CIF SOUTHERN SECTION PLAYERS
- Offensive Player of the Year Raleek Brown — RB — Now at USC
- Defensive Player of the Year David Bailey — LB — Stanford
- Joshua Hunter — CB — San Diego State
- Cameron Sidney — CB — Cal
- CJ Williams — WR — USC
- Quincy Craig — CB/RB — Portland State
Chase Meyer — K — University of Pennsylvania
OTHER IMPACT DEPARTURES
- Cooper Barkate — WR — Harvard
- Mosula Tapusoa — OL — Morgan State
- Ta’ita’i Uiagalelei — OL — Arizona
- Sione Moa — OL — Utah State
- Jacob Kongaika — OL — Arizona
- Malaki Te'o — OL — Hawaii
- Eoghan Kerry — OL — Colorado
- Lyrik Fata — OL — UC Davis
- Domani Jackson — CB — USC
- Jack Laphen — OL
IMPACT PLAYERS TO WATCH
QB Elijah Brown — Jr. — 6-foot-2, 180 pounds
Offer sheet: 13 offers including Alabama, Georgia and USC
2021 stats: Completed 166 of 224 passes (74%) for 2,581 yards, 30 TDs, 6 INTs, 2 rushing TDs
Rollinson: “Here’s the biggest thing. This is the first time we’ve had Elijah for a full off-season from January to spring football in May. What he is now able to do is see the potential of the offense. If you think about the kid, he practiced forever as a freshman and we finally got five games and then I had to rest him because we were back into it again. So now his body is rested. He’s stronger, more confident. He’s 17-0 and he’s ripping the ball. So we're excited, but the most important thing is he now is getting to where he can make the adjustments, changing protections, changing one side or the other and the routes. It’s good stuff."
RB Ajon Bryant — Jr. — 5-9, 160
Offer sheet: UMass, Michigan State
2021 stats: 60 carries for 547 yards and 6 TDs, 1 kickoff return for TD
Rollinson: "We're going to feature Ajon. He's experienced. He’s an electric runner."
RB Jordon Davison — So. — 5-11, 210
Offer sheet: More than 30 offers including Alabama, Michigan and USC
2021 stats: 30 carries for 188 yards and 4 TDs
Rollinson: "Jordon is a bigger runner. He's going to cause a lot of problems."
RB Kai Remigio — Sr. — 5-10, 175
2021 stats: 5 carries, 28 yards
Rollinson: "Kai is competing well."
RB/WR/CB Nate Frazier — Sr. — 5-11, 195
Offer sheet: Arizona State, Oregon, UNLV, USC
2021 stats at St. Pius X St. Matthias: 32 carries, 317 yards and 2 TDs; 35 catches for 619 yards and 12 TDs; 31 tackles, 1 INT
Rollinson: "Nathan can be like our Quincy Craig for this year since he’s a really good man cover guy but he’s also lightning fast on offense. He’s wet behind the ears, but you can't substitute that kind of speed."
WR Jack Ressler — Jr. — 5-11, 195
Offer sheet: 16 offers including Florida State, Notre Dame and USC
2021 stats: 33 catches, 310 yards, 3 TDs
Rollinson: "Jack had a great summer. He does it all for us. We line him up on the outside, inside and in motion. He’s probably Elijah's go-to guy, kind of like CJ [Williams], where he does really well after the catch.”
WR Jordan Onovughe — Sr. — 6-0, 200
2021 stats: 4 catches, 54 yards
Rollinson: "Jordan is a senior who’s waited his turn. I respect him because he could’ve transferred and gone into the portal but he didn’t. As a junior, he bided his time with that elite crew we had last year. Jordan has pretty good speed. Overall, he’s wet behind the ears in the sense of game action since we were so deep there, but I like what this kid's doing. He knows it's his year and it’s his turn.”
WR Marcus Harris — So. — 6-0, 180
Rollinson: "Over on the other side right now is a young sophomore named Marcus Harris. Marcus has got some pretty good burst about him, pretty good speed, but he’s young. I could count the number of reps he had last year on one hand so he’s learning on the fly."
WR Marcus Brown — Jr. — 5-10, 165
Rollinson: "Marcus broke his collarbone last year. He’s one of those kids that doesn’t drop anything. He just finds a way to get open."
WR Derrick Drayton — Sr. — 5-9, 190
2021 stats: 1 catch, 6 yards
Rollinson: "Derrick is another sure-handed kid but he doesn't have a lot of experience."
TE Spencer Shannon - Sr. - 6-7, 235
University of Texas commit
2021 stats: 3 catches, 81 yards, 1 TD
Rollinson: "Spencer is a whole different breed of cat. He’s catching the ball well. We really want to utilize his height in the passing game. Spencer has had a great camp and you know what we’re really proud of is he’s spent a lot of time with the O-line but he’s going to play that H-back type of role for us too. Also if we wanted to, we could put him at 10 personnel. It’s hard to defend him. He’s strong."
OL DeAndre Carter — Jr. — 6-4, 340
Offer sheet: 21 offers including Alabama, Georgia and USC
Rollinson: "DeAndre is our left tackle. He's one of the top recruits in the nation. He started for us as a freshman so he's protected Elijah's backside for seventeen games. He’s confident, strong and big."
OL Sione Tohi — So. — 6-3, 315
Offer sheet: Arizona
Rollinson: "Sione is our left guard. He started the first five games last year and then Brandon took over for him, but he’s massive. He'll be much more confident than last year where he was learning on the fly. So we’re excited about him and we just love what he does.”
OL BJ Tolo — Sr. — 6-1, 290
Offer sheet: Colorado State, Kansas, New Mexico State, Oregon
Rollinson: "The center is steady Eddie, four-year starter BJ Tolo. He played guard when he was a freshman, but as a sophomore we moved him to center in the five game season and he hasn’t looked back since. He’s a heck of a lineman. He’s kind of the most experienced man on the line.”
OL Phillip Moala — Sr. — 6-6, 320
Rollinson: "Phillip tore his ACL as a sophomore and then came back in October last year. He wasn't involved as much last year because of that, but he's ready this year. He's champing at the bit. He’s massive. He’s healthy and he can bend. It’s pretty special stuff.”
OL Brandon Baker — Jr. — 6-5, 285
Offer sheet: 16 offers including Florida, Michigan and USC
Rollinson: "We took Brandon from guard and made him the right tackle. He's cat quick, smooth, and has just unbelievable feet. He's a big time recruit. It’s pretty exciting. We have the type of line that if you want to run the ball, they’ll run the ball. If you want to protect Elijah, which they take great pride in, you know they will take care of business. This group is our strength."
DL Aydin Breland — Jr. — 6-5, 290
Offer sheet: Nine offers including Notre Dame, Oregon and USC
2021 stats: 9 tackles, 2.5 for loss, 1 sack
Rollinson: "We’re excited about Aydin Breland. He’s so fast, it’s ridiculous. He’s one of the top recruits in the nation. He gives us the flexibility to not only play at defensive tackle but we can kick him out to the side and bring him off the edge. He's that quick and big.”
DL Semi Taulanga - So. - 6-0, 310
2021 stats: 9 tackles
Rollinson: "Semi is playing the nose well. He has a very powerful lower body but not a lot of game experience.”
DL RJ Fineanganofo — Sr. — 5-9, 215
2021 stats: 2 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery
Rollinson: "I like RJ. RJ is kind of the throw back to some kids I've coached in the past. He's not that tall, but you can’t block him. I mean literally, even as good as my offensive line is, they hate when RJ is lined up because his pad level is so low and he’s so quick."
DL Zeus Venegas — Sr. — 6-4, 255
2021 stats: 9 tackles, 4 for loss, 2.5 sacks
Rollinson: "Zeus probably has the most playing experience out of the returning defensive linemen. We play him on both sides at the tackle position. He can also go outside off of the edge."
LB Leviticus Su’a — Sr. — 6-1, 225
Offer sheet: 15 offers including Stanford, Oregon and Texas
2021 stats: 44 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 1 forced fumble
Rollinson: "What can I say about Leviticus other than that he’s a 4.2 student and he's just a powerhouse. He's been a four-year linebacker for us. He comes downhill and plays very physically but he can also run sideline-to-sideline. He’s one of those kids that you go ‘wow, he’s got it all’ — the academics, the leadership, the character. He’s running the show, let's put it that way."
LB Lucas Campicta — So. — 6-2, 220
2021 stats: 7 tackles
Rollinson: "Lucas had a shoulder issue last year as a freshman, but he’s now starting to push his way to the front. It's early though and other guys are competing with him."
LB Ramere Davis — Jr. — 6-2, 195
Offer sheet: FIU, Florida State, Maryland, Michigan, Oregon and UNLV
2021 stats: 6 tackles
Rollinson: "Everyone knows Ramere's brother. Ramere is trying to establish his own identity this year."
LB Nasir Wyatt — So. — 6-2, 200
Offer sheet: Arizona, Michigan State, Oregon and Utah
2021 stats: 7 tackles, 3 for loss, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble
Rollinson: "Nasir has incredible strength. He's a monster."
LB Abduall Sanders Jr. - So. - 6-2, 210
Offer sheet: Arizona, Michigan State and Utah
Rollinson: "Abduall is a hitter. We've got to get Abduall and Nasir on the field. They're that good.
CB Zabien Brown — Jr. — 6-1, 175
Offer sheet: 11 offers including Alabama, Georgia and USC
2021 stats: 23 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 3 INTs
Rollinson: "Zabien has been a little banged up, but he’s 100% now. He’s a national recruit who can flat out fly. I said last year, and I have tremendous respect for Domani Jackson, but we felt that Zabien was a little bit ahead of where Domani was as a sophomore. Now Zabien’s got to get a lot of reps because of the amount of time he missed with his injury. But since he's been back he’s been all over the field. Zabien might have to deal with the fact that teams may not throw a lot to his side this year. He’s that good. It’s going to be fun to watch."
CB Chuck McDonald — So. — 6-1, 180
Offer sheet: Arizona, Colorado State, Oregon and USC
2021 stats: 1 tackle
Rollinson: "Chuck is legit. He does it all."
CB Daryus Dixson — So. — 6-0, 175
Offer sheet: 10 offers including Auburn, Oregon and USC
2021 stats: 16 tackles, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery
Rollinson: "Daryus is a talented kid.:
S Jeilani Davis — Jr. — 6-2, 185
Offer sheet: USC
2021 stats: 12 tackles, 1 INT
Rollinson: "Jeilani is doing real well at the free safety position. We depend a lot on our free safety, not just in the pass game but in the run game too."
S Rylan Vagana — Jr. — 6-1, 195
2021 stats: 5 tackles
Rollinson: "Rylan's playing the strong safety position and he's doing a great job.”
K Andre Medina - Sr. - 5-11, 175
Rollinson: "Andre is a kid (who) was a soccer player for three years and is now playing football. He can get it deep and into the end zone on kickoffs. Now we have to get a soccer player to learn the timing of field goals. I'm not really worried about PATs because I think we can get him enough time but, yeah, the field goals are a work in progress."
IMPACT TRANSFERS IN
- Nate Frazier — 2024 RB/WR/CB — St. Pius X St. Matthias Academy
- Khristian Dunbar-Hawkins — 2023 CB — Alemany
REGULAR SEASON GAME(S) OF THE YEAR
Mater Dei plays three nationally ranked teams this fall in Bishop Gorman, Corona Centennial and St. John Bosco. Those three contests will show how Mater Dei stacks up nationally this season.
The Monarchs begin the year ranked as the SBLive Power 25's No. 2 team in the country behind St. John Bosco. Bishop Gorman is ranked fifth and Corona Centennial 14th.
10-0 and a berth in the Division 1 Southern Section playoffs
Despite the challenging schedule, an undefeated regular season is always possible for Mater Dei.
MOST REALISTIC SCENARIO
9-1 and a Division 1 playoff berth
Mater Dei hasn't lost a game since 2019, so picking the Monarchs to go 9-1 may look a little funny. Whether they go 10-0, 9-1 or 8-2, Mater Dei will once again be one of the two favorites to win a Division 1 Southern Section championship along with St. John Bosco this fall. But to begin the year, we like St. John Bosco's roster a little better, which is why we have Mater Dei at 9-1. Would we be shocked if the Monarchs rattled off another undefeated state championship season though? Of course not.
“Where does this team stack up to other teams in past years? That’s a great question. We’re pretty good and obviously we have to manage talent. We have to rotate kids because like I said, we’ve got a lot of depth at linebacker. It’s a good problem to have because we’re bringing fresh legs in."
"I see this as a team that’s going to grow as the season unfolds. They’ve got some big games in front of them — the schedule's loaded. But I think it’s a formidable team and I see people all of a sudden going, wait a minute, here they come again. It kind of surprises me in a way that Bosco’s No. 1 and we're No. 2. There’s a chip on their shoulder and I want them playing with a chip on their shoulder, so I’m kind of excited to see what they’ve got. There’s times in summer practices people come up and are like, wow we’re going to be pretty good. Then there are time when you look and you see young players making young player mistakes. But don’t count us out, not with an offensive line like that.”
— Bruce Rollinson