Mater Dei’s JT Daniels is the Register’s Male Athlete of the Year

  • Orange County Register’s Male Athlete of the Year – Mater Dei football standout JT Daniels in Santa Ana, CA, on Monday, June 4, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Orange County Register’s Male Athlete of the Year – Mater Dei football standout JT Daniels in Santa Ana, CA, on Monday, June 4, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Orange County Register’s Male Athlete of the Year – Mater Dei football standout JT Daniels in Santa Ana, CA, on Monday, June 4, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Orange County Register’s Male Athlete of the Year – Mater Dei football standout JT Daniels in Santa Ana, CA, on Monday, June 4, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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  • Orange County Register’s Male Athlete of the Year – Mater Dei football standout JT Daniels in Santa Ana, CA, on Monday, June 4, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Orange County Register’s Male Athlete of the Year – Mater Dei football standout JT Daniels in Santa Ana, CA, on Monday, June 4, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Orange County Register’s Male Athlete of the Year – Mater Dei football standout JT Daniels in Santa Ana, CA, on Monday, June 4, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Orange County Register’s Male Athlete of the Year – Mater Dei football standout JT Daniels in Santa Ana, CA, on Monday, June 4, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Orange County Register’s Male Athlete of the Year – Mater Dei football standout JT Daniels in Santa Ana, CA, on Monday, June 4, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Orange County Register’s Male Athlete of the Year – Mater Dei football standout JT Daniels in Santa Ana, CA, on Monday, June 4, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • JT Daniels, right,  celebrates with his father, Steve Daniels,left, as the Mater Dei High quarterback receives the Gatorade National Player of the Year award in a school presentation last December. Both are in USC gear to also signify Daniels’ decision to attend the school early and prepare for the chance to start this fall as part of coach Clay Helton’s latest recrutiing class. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    JT Daniels, right, celebrates with his father, Steve Daniels,left, as the Mater Dei High quarterback receives the Gatorade National Player of the Year award in a school presentation last December. Both are in USC gear to also signify Daniels’ decision to attend the school early and prepare for the chance to start this fall as part of coach Clay Helton’s latest recrutiing class. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Mater Dei’s JT Daniels passes against Orange Lutheran during the first half of a Trinity League game at Santa Ana Stadium on Friday, October 27, 2017 in Santa Ana, Calif. (Photo by Josh Barber, Contributing Photographer)

    Mater Dei’s JT Daniels passes against Orange Lutheran during the first half of a Trinity League game at Santa Ana Stadium on Friday, October 27, 2017 in Santa Ana, Calif. (Photo by Josh Barber, Contributing Photographer)

  • Mater Dei quarterback JT Daniels in Santa Ana on Thursday, December 7, 2017. Daniels is the All-County Football Team Offensive Player of the Year. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Mater Dei quarterback JT Daniels in Santa Ana on Thursday, December 7, 2017. Daniels is the All-County Football Team Offensive Player of the Year. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Mater Dei quarterback JT Daniels in Santa Ana on Thursday, December 7, 2017. Daniels will lead the Monarchs in the upcoming CIF State Championship game against De La Salle High School. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Mater Dei quarterback JT Daniels in Santa Ana on Thursday, December 7, 2017. Daniels will lead the Monarchs in the upcoming CIF State Championship game against De La Salle High School. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Mater Dei quarterback JT Daniels in Anaheim on Tuesday, July  25, 2017. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Mater Dei quarterback JT Daniels in Anaheim on Tuesday, July 25, 2017. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Mater Dei quarterback JT Daniels in Anaheim on Tuesday, July  25, 2017. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Mater Dei quarterback JT Daniels in Anaheim on Tuesday, July 25, 2017. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Quarterback JT Daniels, who officially signed with USC on Wednesday morning, led Mater Dei to a 15-0 record and state title as a junior this past season. (Photo by Matt Masin)

    Quarterback JT Daniels, who officially signed with USC on Wednesday morning, led Mater Dei to a 15-0 record and state title as a junior this past season. (Photo by Matt Masin)

  • Mater Dei quarterback JT Daniels throws a pass in the first half. Servite was taking on Mater Dei in a Trinity League game at Santa Ana Stadium in Santa Ana, on Friday, November  3, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Mater Dei quarterback JT Daniels throws a pass in the first half. Servite was taking on Mater Dei in a Trinity League game at Santa Ana Stadium in Santa Ana, on Friday, November 3, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Mater Dei’s JT Daniels scrambles away from St. John Bosco’s Terrance Beasley in Torrance on Friday, October 13, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Mater Dei’s JT Daniels scrambles away from St. John Bosco’s Terrance Beasley in Torrance on Friday, October 13, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Mater Dei’s quarterback JT Daniels (18) looks for the open man against Vista Murrieta High School during the CIF-SS Division 1 football quarterfinal playoff game at Vista Murrieta High School in Murrieta Friday, Nov. 18, 2016. FRANK BELLINO, THE PRESS-ENTERPRISE/SCNG

    Mater Dei’s quarterback JT Daniels (18) looks for the open man against Vista Murrieta High School during the CIF-SS Division 1 football quarterfinal playoff game at Vista Murrieta High School in Murrieta Friday, Nov. 18, 2016. FRANK BELLINO, THE PRESS-ENTERPRISE/SCNG

  • JT Daniels, 17, Irvine
The Mater Dei High quarterback, who has committed to USC, already has set the Orange County record for career passing yardage, won a state title and was the Gatorade national player of the year as just a junior.
 (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    JT Daniels, 17, Irvine
    The Mater Dei High quarterback, who has committed to USC, already has set the Orange County record for career passing yardage, won a state title and was the Gatorade national player of the year as just a junior.
    (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Mater Dei quarterback JT Daniels passes during a non league game against La Mirada at Santa Ana Stadium on Friday, September 9, 2016. (Photo by Nick Agro, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Mater Dei quarterback JT Daniels passes during a non league game against La Mirada at Santa Ana Stadium on Friday, September 9, 2016. (Photo by Nick Agro, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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JT Daniels, statistically at least, is the best quarterback in Orange County high school history. He was recognized as the best football player in the nation this past fall.

Orange County football has never seen anyone like Daniels, Mater Dei’s quarterback of the past three seasons. His personal dominance, and his leadership role on Orange County high school sports’ most dominate team of the 2017-18 school year, makes Daniels the Register’s Orange County male athlete of the year.

Daniels was at the controls of an offense that averaged 48 points a game while playing one of the more-challenging schedules any O.C. team has played. Mater Dei went 15-0, won the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 championship and the CIF State Open Division title.

The Monarchs’ average margin of victory was 33 points. They never trailed in any of their 15 games.

Daniels threw 52 touchdown passes, the second-most in O.C. history (he set the record of 67 touchdown passes in his sophomore season of 2016).

He completed 72 percent of his passes for 4,123 yards, the second-most in O.C. history (his 4,819 passing yards of the ’16 season is the county single-season record). Daniels averaged 275 passing yards a game, although he was removed at various points in the second half of the Monarchs’ many one-sided wins. Daniels also rushed for 561 yards, averaging 9 yards a carry, and nine touchdowns.

Daniels was at his best in some of the Monarchs’ more important games.

In their 49-24 win over St. John Bosco in the CIF-SS Division 1 championship game, Daniels threw for 299 yards and five touchdowns. It was the fifth time he had five or more touchdown passes in a game in 2017.

Daniels threw three touchdown passes and ran for two more in Mater Dei’s 52-21 win over De La Salle of Concord in the CIF State Open Division championship game.

He had confidence in himself and his teammates. And Daniels’ teammates had confidence in him.

“Whatever we were going to try to do in a game,” Daniels said, “we knew it was going to work. Nobody ever second-guessed a thing.”

It was a spectacular junior year for Daniels, who was recognized as the Gatorade national player of the year.

How good would his senior year be, will never be known.

Daniels decided to skip his senior year at Mater Dei so he could enroll at USC this fall. It took some academics gymnastics to make that happen, but Daniels is being discussed already as potentially the starting quarterback at USC this fall.

Mater Dei coach Bruce Rollinson admits he feels like he’s been robbed of having Daniels around for 2018. But Rollinson also feels gifted by having Daniels for three seasons.

“His physical talent as a quarterback far exceeds any high school kid in recent memory,” Rollinson said. “He has the ability to make all the throws. When you complement the physical ability with his mental grasp of understanding the game, along with his maturity, now you have something that the fans of Orange County football have been able to enjoy the last three years.”

When reviewing Daniels’ career figures, keep in mind he would have added plenty had he stayed at Mater Dei for his senior year.

His 11,984 career passing yards are an Orange County record. The CIF-SS record is 13,109, which is 1,125 more than Daniels’ total and surely within his reach had Daniels hung around for his senior year.

His 152 career passing touchdowns are a county and CIF-SS record.

For Daniels, his personal records are not as important as the Monarchs’ 15-0 record of the 2017 season that he and his teammates achieved and the fun and friendships they enjoyed along the way.

“It was such a tight-knit group of talented guys,” Daniels said. “We had a bunch of great guys who worked hard together for something special.”

It was a special year for Orange County football. JT Daniels made it special.

Read more about Mater Dei’s JT Daniels is the Register’s Male Athlete of the Year This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed. Orange County Shredding Service

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Sunny Hills’ Ramirez helps Green out-slug Orange in Orange County all-star softball game

IRVINE A wrist injury prevented Sunny Hills pitcher Mariah Ramirez from finishing her softball season the way she wanted to in the circle.

But the senior is feeling better and used her bat Tuesday night to write an exciting final chapter to her high school career.

Ramirez delivered a key, three-run double with two outs in the sixth inning to help the Green out-slug the Orange, 9-5, in the Orange County Coaches all-star game at Bill Barber Park.

The Tennessee-Chattanoga-bound Ramirez went 2 for 2 and won the game’s MVP.

“It feels amazing to win,” she said. “(This) makes me feel better.”

A bases-loaded double by Ramirez gave the South an 8-1 lead. It also followed a RBI single by league rival Frankie Juarez of Sonora.

Ramirez didn’t pitch the second half of the Freeway League because of tendinitis in her wrist.

The Freeway League teamed well with the Trinity League on the Green squad. La Habra’s Elena Valenzuela escaped a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the ninth to earn the save for winning pitcher Mackensie Kohl of Mater Dei.

Kohl started in the circle and tossed two scoreless innings.

The Ohio-bound senior allowed one hit, struck out two and walked none. She stranded Huntington Beach’s Kelli Kufta at third base in the second after a leadoff double.

Mater Dei’s Kelli Godin batted lead off for the Green and collected a run-scoring single, walked, scored, stole a base and threw out a runner from center field trying to take third base on a single.

“When I saw that throw, I was like, ‘Oh, shoot, she’s out,’ ” Ramirez said of Godin, who also was considered for MVP.

The Green’s pitching staff also featured Paige Vargas of Santa Margarita, Chrys Hildebrand of Esperanza and Alexia Silvas of Fullerton before Valenzuela.

Peyton Cody of Mission Viejo helped the Orange finish with a fight. The St. John’s-bound right fielder nearly homered in the seventh but settled for a two-run double to make it 8-5. Cody’s drive blasted off the fence in center field, nearly clearing the fence 225 feet from home plate.

High school fields usually measure 200 feet from home plate.

“Kind of bummer but it’s OK,” Cody said. “I did think it was going to be a homer. It came off the bat nice and it felt good. … We battled, put some runs up. It was a good thing to see some team chemistry.”

 

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Mater Dei volleyball extends league win streak with sweep of Servite

SANTA ANA – Mater Dei’s boys volleyball team continued its dominance over the Trinity league with a 25-20, 25-21, 25-11 victory over Servite on Friday night at Mater Dei High.

The Monarchs (15-4, 5-0) are riding a 30-game winning streak in league play with their last loss coming at the hands of the Friars in 2015.

Since that defeat nearly three years ago, the Monarchs have been unscathed in Trinity League contests thanks in part to great preparation, which was stressed by Coach Pat Connolly.

“It’s our preparation and I’ve also been very fortunate to have great kids and great coaches who treat every match very preciously.” Connolly said.

Denny Kouri, who had a game-high 14 kills, echoed that sentiment when asked about the win over the Friars (15-8, 3-2).

“They’re a great opponent so we had a lot of preparation and a lot focus on this match,” Kouri said.

Connolly’s philosophy during the streak focuses on a postseason-type intensity.

“We try to treat every league match as if it’s a playoff match and we are fighting for our playoff lives,” he said.

That formula has worked for the Monarchs during the streak.

The first set Friday was tightly contested as Mater Dei never trailed but needed a few big plays from Kouri and Alex Josten to secure the set.

Servite was able to grab the advantage in the second set thanks to the duo of Gil Herold and James McGhee, but the Monarchs responded with a quick five points to seize control of the second set after they fell behind 10-9.

Aidan Steinke (7 kills) and Joey Farney were key contributors in the second set. Farney’s ace gave the Monarchs a 21-15 lead, and Kouri closed it out with a pair of kills for a 25-20 win.

“This year has been somewhat his (Kouri’s) coming out party and we’ve been relying on him heavily.” Connolly said. “He performed brilliantly in this match.”

Mater Dei will look to keep its streak alive Wednesday it plays host to second-place Santa Margarita.

Read more about Mater Dei volleyball extends league win streak with sweep of Servite This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed. SaddleBack Valley Shredding Service

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