Bruce Rollinson did not plan on 2022 being his final season as Mater Dei’s football coach.
But the season is unfolding like he did plan it, and it almost looks like he wrote a script for it.
Rollinson, who announced on Nov. 10 that this is his final season coaching the Monarchs, last week coached his last game at Santa Ana Stadium. That’s where he played his home games as a Mater Dei player in the 1960s, and where he has coached Monarchs home games since becoming the school’s football coach in 1989.
On Friday, Rollinson will coach Mater Dei in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 championship game against St. John Bosco at the Rose Bowl.
He played in the Rose Bowl game for USC in 1970 when the Trojans beat Michigan 10-3 to complete a 10-0-1 season.
The annual CIF Southern Section Championship football press conference and luncheon was held Monday at the Rose Bowl, and Rollinson said the visit brought back a lot of memories.
“I was out on the field earlier today,” Rollinson said, “and it was 52 years ago that I played in the Rose Bowl, and all these memories stated coming back. And I was going, ‘This is unbelievable,’ because I remember coming out of that same tunnel with (Coach) John McKay. And 52 years later I’m going to lead my own football team out of the same tunnel.”
LIVE COVERAGE OF FINALS
Broadcast information for the CIF-SS finals involving Orange County teams. All games start at 7 p.m. unless noted:
Division 1: Mater Dei vs. St. John Bosco, Friday, 7:30 p.m., televised by Bally Sports SoCal;
Division 3: Yorba Linda vs. Upland, Friday, 7:30 p.m., streamed by Bally Sports Prep Zone;
Division 6: San Jacinto vs. Orange, Friday; NFHS Network;
Division 7: Laguna Hills vs. Golden Valley, Saturday, NFHS Network;
Division 8: Northwood vs. Lakewood, Saturday, NFHS Network;
Division 9: Laguna Beach vs. Diamond Bar, Saturday, NFHS Network;
Division 14, Lynwood vs. Whittier Christian, NFHS Network.
• Yorba Linda quarterback Reyn Beal completed 13 of 14 passes in the Mustangs’ 51-20 win over Corona del Mar in the Division 3 semifinals Friday. His one incompletion was a pass that was batted down at the line of scrimmage. The Mustangs (13-0) will play at Upland (9-4) in the Division 3 championship game Friday. …
• Cypress went 5-0 in the Empire League with an average margin of victory of 33 points. Their three playoff wins are by two points in the first round, one point in the quarterfinals and three points in the semifinals. …
• Cypress senior safety Trevor Monteleone said this year’s team is an aggressive group. “We all fly to the ball on defense, and we all want to be the first one to make the hit,” he said. “On offense, we have so many guys who want to be the one to make the big play.”
Photos and video highlights from Monday’s CIF-SS luncheon for the football finalists
Orange County football Top 25: CIF-SS finalists Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Northwood added to rankings
CIF-SS football playoffs: Updated schedule for Orange County teams in the finals
Orange County football stat leaders for the CIF-SS semifinals
Schedule for CIF Southern Section football championship games, Nov. 25-26
• Northwood plays in the Division 8 final against Lakewood on Saturday. The Timberwolves won the Division 11 championship last season. Northwood running back/linebacker Adam Harper has noticed a difference between the two divisions. “The teams in this division are bigger and a lot more physical,” he said. “We’re physical, too, and we can match their physicality.” …
• Whittier Christian senior lineman Ian Mgrdichian Roth expects the Heralds’ opponent Friday in the Division 14 final, Lynwood, to have a size advantage against the Herlads. “I have to focus on taking all of my right steps,” he said. “Just knowing I’m better than the other guy across from me, which is really important, just having that confidence.”