#1 Ranked Mater Dei Battles Arizona Powerhouse Centennial

High School Football Preview - California vs. Arizona Showdown

Mater Dei is the consensus No. 1 high school football team in the country, and the Monarchs have outscored their opponents 105-19 in the first two games of the season.

Two-time defending Class 5A champion Centennial is ranked as one of the top five teams in Arizona and the Coyotes opened the season with a solid 34-27 victory over Casteel.

For Mater Dei, this road test is the first of three big games in a row. After traveling to Arizona, the Monarchs host Baltimore St. Francis Academy, the second-ranked team in the nation, and then travel to Washington, D.C., to face No. 4 St. John’s.

Here’s a look inside the matchup that kicks off Friday, Sept. 6th at 7pm MT/10pm ET and can be seen on Yurview Arizona (Cox Ch. 1004 Phoenix, 1007 Tucson) and nationally on Yurview.com/live.

TOUGH PLACE TO PLAY

The Coyotes are used to nationally ranked competition coming into their stadium, and they’re also used to being underdogs in those situations. Centennial beat nationally ranked Fort Lauderdale (Florida) St. Thomas Aquinas and Las Vegas (Nevada) Bishop Gorman the last two seasons, both at home.

Another factor in the game is that Centennial had two weeks to prepare for Mater Dei. The Coyotes had a bye after beating Casteel. On the other hand, Mater Dei must travel to Arizona and do it with one less day of rest and preparation. The Monarchs’ game against Villa Park last week was moved back two days because Villa Park’s activity was suspended six days because it violated a rule by holding off-site practices.

centennial coyotes
Centennial WR Dyelan Miller. Photo courtesy of Steve Paynter.

“We know we can’t make mistakes because of how good they (Mater Dei) are,” Centennial running back and safety Jaydin Young told the Peoria Times. “It’s going to be something where we have to capitalize whenever we can.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

QB Bryce Young 6-0/180 – Senior Mater Dei

Young is the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in the country, and he held more than 30 scholarship offers before committing to USC. Young is completing 74% of his passes as a senior and has already thrown for seven touchdowns. In his four years at Mater Dei, Young has thrown for more than 9,200 yards and 101 touchdowns – with only 16 interceptions.

“The game looks like it has really slowed down for him right now,” 247Sports national recruiting analyst Greg Biggins said. “He looks so composed and in control of the Mater Dei offense, and has made improvements in his arm strength and deep ball accuracy.”

OL Myles Murao 6-3/265 – Senior Mater Dei 

Protecting the nation’s best high school quarterback is one of the nation’s best offensive lineman. Murao is ranked as the top center prospect in the country by most recruiting services, and he’s already made an oral commitment to Washington.

“He is most versatile lineman out West,” Biggins said. “He has shown he can play either tackle position but will slide inside and play guard or center in college. He’s a three-year starter for the Monarchs after starting at right tackle two years ago before moving to the left side last season.”

LB Raesjon Davis 6-1/210 – Junior Mater Dei

Through his first two games, Raesjon Davis showed why he’s among the nation’s top prospects in the 2021 class and arguably the best linebacker in any class. There is nothing he can’t do on a football field and is one of those rare players who does everything well. Davis has more than 20 scholarship offers, but USC is considered the early favorite.

Raesjon Davis Highlights:

QB Jonathan Morris 5-10/175 – Senior Centennial 

Centennial does have next-level talent in Jaydin Young and Arizona-bound receiver Dyelan Miller, but Morris is going to need to come up big and limit his mistakes for the Coyotes.

Morris knows the Centennial offense in and out and has played big in big games in the past, including a state championship run. Morris will be facing a defense that has multiple Division I recruits, but his experience, knowledge of the system and game plan will give the Coyotes a chance to win the game.

PREDICTION

It would be easy to predict another big Mater Dei victory – and that is entirely possible – but the short turn around, travel and hostile environment should make this game closer than it looks on paper. Centennial has beaten nationally ranked out of state opponents before and the environment will be electric, but so is the Monarchs’ offense led by Bryce Young.

MATER DEI 35, CENTENNIAL 14

Watch the Mater Dei vs. Centennial game, Friday, September 6th at 7pm MT/10pm ET on yurview.com