Mater Dei High School caps championship season in shadow of serious hazing allegations

MISSION VIEJO, Calif. – The celebration began long before the game clock had expired, and maybe it was joyous enough for the Mater Dei High School football team and its fans to forget about weeks of controversy.

If only temporarily.

Allegations of hazing hover over the program that once again showed it is among the most dominant in the country.

The outcome never was in doubt for Mater Dei, the football powerhouse from Southern California that on Saturday won the CIF open division state championship with a 44-7 victory over Junípero Serra High School of northern California.

Mater Dei quarterback Elijah Brown connected with wide receiver Cooper Barkate on a 78-yard touchdown on the Monarchs’ first possession at Saddleback College Stadium and never looked back.

By finishing the season 12-0, the Mater Dei Monarchs likely secured the top spot in the final USA TODAY Sports Super 25 high school football rankings of the season for the fifth time since 1994. That would tie the school with De La Salle of California for most season-ending, No. 1 finishes since the rankings began in 1982.

As if that weren’t reason enough for the Monarchs and their fans to rejoice, Mater Dei alum Bryce Young, now the starting quarterback at Alabama, won the Heisman Trophy on Saturday.

Young became the school’s third alum to win the Heisman Trophy, with quarterback Matt Leinart having won in 2004 when he was playing for USC and quarterback John Huarte having won it in 1964 when he was playing for Notre Dame.

But there are still the serious allegations.

On Nov. 23, details of the alleged hazing surfaced publicly with an Orange County Register report detailing a fight in the Mater Dei locker room. It was part of a hazing ritual at the Catholic school that in February left one of the players with a broken nose and brain injury, the Orange County…


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