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No. 2 Mater Dei manhandles No. 10 Duncanville in marquee early-season matchup

Here are five key takeaways from No. 2 Mater Dei's lopsided victory over No. 10 Duncanville in a marquee California-versus-Texas matchup to open the season
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DUNCANVILLE, Texas — The Mater Dei Monarchs made it clear that their stop in the Lone Star State was strictly a business trip.

No. 2 Mater Dei took care of business by blowing past No. 10 Duncanville in a marquee California-versus-Texas matchup for a dominant 45-3 season-opening road win Friday at Panther Stadium in Duncanville

The Monarchs’ 42-point victory marked Mater Dei’s sixth consecutive victory dating back to 2020 and Duncanville’s largest defeat since November 2014.

“I would have rather gotten my butt kicked like this than play a team that wasn’t very good and fool ourselves,” Duncanville head coach Reginald Samples said. 

“We are who we are no matter who we play. I would rather not fool myself into thinking we’re all that if we didn’t play well. This team showed us where we are and we’ve got a long way to go.”

Here are five key takeaways from the Monarchs’ impressive road victory over the Panthers.

Mater Dei defensive lineman Sione Moa locks arms with his teammates before walking to midfield for the pregame coin toss during a game against Duncanville on Friday at Panther Stadium in Duncanville, Texas. (Connor Morrissettte | SBLive California)

Mater Dei defensive lineman Sione Moa locks arms with his teammates before walking to midfield for the pregame coin toss during a game against Duncanville on Friday at Panther Stadium in Duncanville, Texas. (Connor Morrissettte | SBLive California)

MATER DEI SET TONE IN TRENCHES

The Monarchs seized control of this game in the early stages with their play at the line of scrimmage.

Mater Dei dominated in the trenches, an area where the Panthers possesses considerable depth, both offensively and defensively.

Duncanville senior defensive end Omari Abor, a five-star recruit and the top Class of 2022 defensive line prospect throughout Texas, was mostly held in check. Abor upped his game in the second half with a few big hits and a late sack, but Mater Dei’s offensive line prevented the Panthers’ from penetrating the pocket.

On the flip side, the Monarchs’ defense jammed the middle of the field and overwhelmed the interior of Duncanville’s O-line. 

The Panthers’ two offensive tackles Jaylen Early and Cameron Williams — Florida State and Oregon commits, respectively — showed flashes of their potential, but Duncanville’s offense could not establish the run between the tackles and struggled to stretch the field through the air while escaping Mater Dei’s relentless pass rush.

Those factors enabled the Monarchs to outgain the Panthers 406-191 in total yardage.

Duncanville players huddle up in the end zone before kickoff in their team's season opener against Mater Dei on Friday at Panther Stadium in Duncanville, Texas. (Andrew McCulloch | SBLive Texas)

Duncanville players huddle up in the end zone before kickoff in their team's season opener against Mater Dei on Friday at Panther Stadium in Duncanville, Texas. (Andrew McCulloch | SBLive Texas)

QUESTION MARKS REMAIN FOR DUNCANVILLE AT QB

The biggest question mark entering Friday’s season opener for Duncanville was who would step up at quarterback and take the reins to the offense.

Unfortunately for the Panthers, though, that question could linger past Week 1.

Senior Solomon James got the start for Duncanville and played the entirety of the first half before being swapped with sophomore Jameir Wills who played the remainder of the game at quarterback.

James got off to a rocky start in his first career varsity start. He threw two first-half interceptions, both of which led to scores.

Mater Dei’s first pick was returned for a touchdown. The Monarchs also scored on a 75-yard touchdown run immediately after their second interception on fourth down in the back of the end zone.

Wills demonstrated better ball security by comparison without committing any turnovers, but the Panthers’ sophomore signal caller was pestered by Mater Dei’s front seven all night.

Neither Panthers’ quarterback could consistently push the ball downfield as both relied on short to mid-range passes in the face of a collapsing pocket.

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