Quarterback Max Wittek and receiver Victor Blackwell came through at decisive moments Thursday night as Santa Ana Mater Dei pulled out a 31-20 victory over Bellflower St. John Bosco in a Trinity League opener at Santa Ana Stadium.
Blackwell caught six passes for 135 yards and two touchdowns. He also had a 41-yard run. Wittek completed 13 of 28 passes for 219 yards, but it was his running on an 80-yard, eight-play drive in the fourth quarter that gave Mater Dei (4-2) the lead for good. Both players have committed to USC.
“Too much Blackwell,” St. John Bosco Coach Jason Negro said. “He killed us. He’s a tremendous player.”
St. John Bosco (4-2) rallied from a 17-6 halftime deficit to take a 20-17 lead. Martin Brown, who rushed for 147 yards in 19 carries, scored on a 66-yard touchdown run off a draw play in the third quarter, catching Mater Dei in a blitz. Bryce Treggs intercepted a pass by Wittek and then caught a 60-yard touchdown pass with 10:34 left.
Mater Dei’s offense was stumbling in the second half when Wittek put his head down and started carrying the ball. He had runs of 15 and 12 yards before scoring on a 13-yard run with 5:56 left for a 24-20 Monarchs lead.
“That’s what Mater Dei kids will do. They’ll step up,” Coach Bruce Rollinson said.
St. John Bosco got the ball back and was driving until a bad snap was recovered by Mater Dei’s Zavier Parker with 5:11 left. Wittek connected with Blackwell on a 13-yard fourth-down pass for a first down, setting up a clinching 16-yard touchdown run by Freddie Mora, who had 115 yards rushing.
Mater Dei had five sacks, all in the first half. The Braves had little strategy for dealing with the speed of Blackwell, who caught scoring passes of 32 and 15 yards. He also had a 60-yard reception in which he outdueled St. John Bosco’s top defender, Treggs, for the ball.
St. John Bosco’s only first-half score came at the end of the first quarter on a 35-yard touchdown run by Brown after a fumble recovery. The Braves didn’t commit a penalty until midway through the third quarter.