In a game befitting its buildup, Mater Dei scored late to rally from its first fourth-quarter deficit in two years and defeat IMG Academy of Bradenton, Fla., 28-24, before a capacity crowd of 10,000-plus at Santa Ana Stadium Sept. 21.

The Monarchs’ victory was made possible by junior quarterback Bryce Young’s 5-yard run with 69 seconds remaIning, capping a 75-yard drive after IMG had taken a 24-21 lead with 3:36 to play. Young completed six of six passes on the final drive, and Mater Dei then held IMG on downs to preserve the win, snapping IMG’s 40-game winning streak.

The exciting contest included two trick passing plays for Mater Dei touchdowns (a “flea flicker” and a tackle-eligible play), more than 800 yards of total offense, and neither team leading by more than a touchdown. Only a slew of penalties (16 against Mater Dei, 14 against IMG) marred an otherwise top-notch affair pitting the nation’s No. 1 (IMG) and No. 2 (Mater Dei) teams, according to Maxpreps’ Computer rankings.

The new survey, released Sept. 23, has Mater Dei (4-1) first and IMG third, with idle St. John Bosco still second. Maxpreps’ Xcellent 25 poll, which last week had Mater Dei second (behind St. John Bosco) and IMG fifth, still has the Braves and Monarchs 1-2, with IMG sixth.

Mater Dei next begins defense of its Trinity League title, hosting Servite Sept. 28 while St. John Bosco (5-0) returns to action hosting unbeaten J.Serra (5-0), also idle last week. Mater Dei and St. John Bosco go head-to-head Oct. 12.

In other action involving top-ten teams (as per the CIF-Southern Section weekly polls), Division 1 Serra (Gardena) withstood a fourth-quarter rally to defeat Cathedral, D-2’s No. 9 team, 21-19; Paraclete (ninth in D-3) lost to Monterey Trail (Elk Grove), 41-27; St. Bonaventure (No. 7 in D-4) clobbered Rancho Christian, 63-14; and St. Bernard (fourth in D-13) clipped Torrance, 28-7.

Bishop Montgomery ran its mark to 4-1 with a 61-35 win over Calvary Chapel, leading 27-0 after the first quarter. The Knights were paced by seniors Matthew Origel (200 yards and three touchdowns rushing plus one passing) and Kyle Moten (146 yards and four TDs rushing).

Other Catholic school winners were Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks), 49-12 over Birmingham, and St. Francis, 48-27 over Harvard-Westlake.

On the other side, results included Vista Murrieta 8, Loyola 0; St. Margaret’s 42, Bishop Diego 15; Valley Christian 38, La Salle 20; Agoura 41, St. Anthony 25; El Rancho 63, Cantwell-Sacred Heart 0; Lompoc 24, St. Joseph (Santa Maria) 21; Village Christian 26, Mary Star 8 (the Stars’ first loss); Don Bosco Tech 28, Riverside Prep 22; Xavier Prep 30, Verbum Dei 0; Trinity Classical 42, St. Pius X-St. Matthias 7; and Santa Paula 28, Santa Clara 24 in a Citrus Coast League game.

In eight-man football, Villanova (ninth in D-1) edged Flintridge Prep, 37-35, and St. Michael’s Prep (No. 5 in D-2) beat Trinity Christian, 20-14.

Besides St. John Bosco, Servite and J.Serra, idle teams last week included Santa Margarita, Alemany, Bishop Amat, Chaminade, Crespi, Damien, St. Genevieve, St. Monica (Santa Monica), St. Paul and Salesian.

Mike Nelson is the former editor of the Tidings (predecessor of Angelus News).

Start your day with Always Forward, our award-winning e-newsletter. Get this smart, handpicked selection of the day’s top news, analysis and opinion, delivered to your inbox. Sign up absolutely free today!