Monday, May 19, 2008

2008 Team to Watch: Mater Dei continues to look ahead to the 2008 high school football season. We're still a couple months away from the start of our expanded preseason national rankings release, but it's not too soon to whet your appetite with mini-previews of teams that are likely to figure very prominently on the national scene this season.

Quarterback Matt Barkley is rated the No. 1 prospect in the country by recruiting websites and He is one of 10 returning starters for the Monarchs, who have won 13 league titles and five CIF crowns in coach Bruce Rollinson's 19 years.

Barkley, a 6-3, 230-pound USC recruit, has been under center for Mater Dei's varsity since his freshman season. He has 6,610 passing yards and 56 touchdowns in his career, including 3,576 yards and 35 touchdowns last year.

Senior cornerback Christian Maldonado (6-0, 185) is a very skilled player who can hit. He returns to lead the defense and could also see time at receiver, a position where three of last year's starters graduated.

The offensive line will be young, but Rollinson is impressed with the talent level. Tackle Chris Ward (6-5, 290) was a sophomore all-state selection last season. The running game should be solid with the return of senior tailback Jaron Hytche (5-10, 210), who scored 10 touchdowns and averaged five yards per carry last year.

Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)
Coach: Bruce Rollinson (191-51-2, 19 years)

2007: 8-3, unranked

Top returning players: QB Matt Barkley (6-3, 230, USC recruit, 3,576 passing yards, 35 TDs); CB/WR Christian Maldonado (6-0, 180, all-league CB), OT Chris Ward (6-5, 290, Jr., sophomore all-state).

Key losses: OT Khaled Holmes (USC), DE Cameron Meredith (Nebraska), WR Robbie Boyer (USC walk-on), OT Kyle Cook (Dartmouth)

All systems go: Barkley at QB, experience at RB, speed on defense

Questions must be answered: Inexperience at OL, depth in the secondary

Toughest games: vs. Corona Centennial (Sept. 19), @Edison (Oct. 3), @Servite (Oct. 17), vs. Orange Lutheran (Nov. 13).

Forbes Report Scouting Video: Matt Barkley vs. Corona Centennial - 2007

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