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Monday, September 6, 2010
Orange County: Actually, Mater Dei had practiced for weeks

By Martin Henderson

The magic of the three stripes didn't appear for Mater Dei over the weekend as the No. 8 Monarchs were upset by No. 21 Carson, 14-10, at Santa Ana Stadium. Here's some telling news: It's the second year in a row the offense has failed to score a touchdown against Carson. Last year, the Colts beat Mater Dei, 14-2.

Trailing by seven in the opening minute of the fourth quarter, Mater Dei had a fourth-and-3 at the six-yard line -- and chose for Eric Goitia to kick a field goal. That left them still needing a touchdown to win.

Mater Dei's only touchdown came on a 74-yard interception return by Glen Raphael that tied the game, but then Dion Willis returned the ensuing kickoff 95 yards for a 14-7 lead.

"We get momentum and give it back on special teams, which is one of the things we pride ourselves on," Mater Dei coach Bruce Rollinson said. "But we had problems all night with substitutions. You would have thought we started practice on Wednesday.

"We have a lot of issues we've got to get corrected."

Victor Blackwell, Mater Dei's USC-bound receiver, hurt his shoulder and didn't play the second half, but he did make a big hit on Rollinson, who was sporting a bandage over his eye at game's end -- kind of like his team.

"That tops the night," Rollinson said, almost laughing. "When Victor was hurt, Victor was holding his shoulder and I leaned down to say what's wrong and he came flying up [and hit me with his helmet]. That epitomizes the whole thing."

Here's something for Monarchs fans to think about: It's not going to get easier. No one gave Carson a chance in this game, but after a bye next week, Mater Dei plays at Corona Centennial -- a team that everyone thinks more highly of than Carson.

Yep, Mater Dei better correct its issues.