Mater Dei vs. Centennial: What You Need To Know

Two of the nation’s best high school football coaches will be going head to head on Friday night as No. 1 ranked Mater Dei (CA) travels to Peoria, Arizona to take on defending Arizona 5A state champion Centennial.

Mater Dei’s Bruce Rollinson and Centennial’s Richard Taylor combine for nearly 80 years of high school football coaching experience and over 600 wins.

Rollinson has led the Monarchs to the California Interscholastic Federation Finals 13 times, winning the title in seven of those appearances. He has also captured three State Titles and four National Championships in his 30 years at the helm.

Taylor is the only head coach Centennial has ever had in the school’s 30-year existence. The Coyotes have won four out of the past five Class 5A State Titles under Taylor’s command, and possess seven total titles. Centennial recently put themselves on the map with wins over national powerhouses such as St. Thomas Aquinas (FL) and Bishop Gorman (NV) in the last two seasons.

COACHING STAFFS

The one thing that both coaches agreed has led to much of their success is the minimal turnover on the coaching staffs they have built.

“It’s extremely important,” Taylor said of the stability on his staff. “The kids know what to expect, and we know what to expect from each other.”

Centennial (AZ) head coach Richard Taylor coaches offensive linemen ahead of matchup with Mater Dei. Photo: Haley Stesiak

Taylor has had offensive line coach Joe McDonald and defensive line coach Hal Borhauer on staff for over 25 years. Taylor’s son, Andrew, is a 1995 graduate of Centennial and has been on his father’s staff for over 15 years as the defensive coordinator and tight ends coach.

Rollinson has had offensive coordinator Dave Money on staff since he took over the program in 1989. Defensive coordinator Eric Johnson has been with Rollinson for 25 of his 31 seasons as head coach.

Additionally, for the Monarchs, five members of the staff are Mater Dei alumni. Specialists coach Tim Chicoine and consultant Josh Higgins both played under Coach Rollinson in their time as Monarchs. Chicoine is a 2003 grad who played on the 2002 CIF Finalist team, while Higgins played on the 1991 CIF and State Championship team.

“People ask me how we’ve developed into a national power, how are we so successful year in and year out,” Rollinson said. “Number one, you’ve got to have good players, secondly, you’ve got to have great coaches, and I’ve got great coaches.”

NOTABLE ALUMS

Beyond the success the two coaches have seen on the gridiron with national and state titles, they have also helped develop some great football talents.

Mater Dei Notable Alums under Coach Rollinson 

Matt Leinart, ’01 – USC, Heisman Trophy Winner, NFL
Matt Barkley, ’09 – USC, NFL
JT Daniels, ’17 – USC
Bru McCoy, ’19 – USC

Centennial Notable Alums under Coach Taylor

Shawn Poindexter, ’12 – Arizona, NFL
Jalen Ortiz, ’13 – UCLA/Wyoming
Dedrick Young, ’15 – Nebraska, NFL
Dom Hampton, ’18 – Washington

THE MATCHUP

Conversations for Mater Dei and Centennial to matchup began last season, Taylor said.

The schools had hoped to play in 2018, but when the initial plans fell through, the two coaches decided to revisit scheduling a game for 2019. The contract for the September matchup was finalized in February.

No. 1 dual-threat quarterback and USC commit Bryce Young of Mater Dei, Arizona commit, wide receiver Dyelan Miller of Centennial and many more top recruits will be on display as the two teams matchup for the first time.

You can catch the action LIVE on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019 at 7:00pm PT/10:00pm ET on Cox or at yurview.com/live.