Photo: Kevin Sullivan Orange County Register

Posted On: 04/2/21 9:43 PM

Mater Dei and Servite is one of the best rivalries in Southern California.

The rivalry dates back many years for two of the most prominent private Catholic schools in the state.

This season, they are the two top teams in Orange County and both ranked top five in the state by MaxPreps. Both teams have plenty of star power and below are a few players to watch in this marquee matchup on Saturday night.

Elijah Brown, Mater Dei, 2024

Mater Dei’s freshman quarterback has been excellent through two games for the Monarchs. It’s not uncommon for Mater Dei to start a freshman at quarterback. Todd Marinovich, Matt Barkley and JT Daniels have all started as freshman for the Monarchs. Brown has had the benefit of playing the two worst teams in the Trinity League in JSerra and Orange Lutheran. It will be interesting to see how he plays against Servite, the best team Mater Dei has played to this point.

Josh Hunter Josh Hunter 5'8" | ATH Mater Dei | 2022 State CA , Mater Dei, 2022

Hunter will be largely responsible for covering Servite receiver Tetairoa McMillan Tetairoa McMillan 6'4" | WR Servite | 2022 State CA . He already has two interceptions on the young season and had a stellar game against Orange Lutheran last week. Other defensive backs like Shoes Brinkley Shoes Brinkley 5'9" | ATH Mater Dei | 2021 State CA and Cooper Barkate Cooper Barkate 6'1" | WR Mater Dei | 2022 State CA will also have their hands full on deeper routes but I expect Hunter to be physical in playing man-to-man.

Domani Jackson Domani Jackson 6'2" | DB Mater Dei | 2022 State CA , Mater Dei, 2022

The number one prospect in the state for the class of 2022 needs no explanation. He is a physical specimen who can get up in receivers faces and have the speed to hang with any receiver. Like Hunter, he will also be tasked with covering McMillan in man coverage and it’s a matchup that scouts will be keeping a close eye on. He is verbally committed to USC but other schools definitely aren’t giving up on him.

George Miki-Han George Miki-Han 6'1" | OL Mater Dei | 2021 State CA , Mater Dei, 2021

Miki-Han is the captain of the Mater Dei offensive line and they will be tasked with protecting their freshman quarterback from the stellar Servite pass rush. He is the center and helps make pre snap adjustments to the pass protection. Mater Dei has other excellent offensive linemen like Ross Maseuli Ross Maseuli 6'3" | OL Mater Dei | 2021 State CA , but Miki-Han is the gas that makes the car go. He is signed with Colorado State.

Noah Fifita Noah Fifita 5'10" | QB Servite | 2022 State CA , Servite, 2022

Fifita is an outstanding quarterback and in my opinion, the best senior one in Orange County. He is battle-tested and has played against a top defense in St. John Bosco already this season. He can extend plays with his legs but Mater Dei is going to pressure him and the question is will he have the ability to do that many times throughout the game. He has multiple offers including Colorado State, Arizona, Fresno State and Cal among others.

Noah Avinger Noah Avinger 5'11" | DB Servite | 2021 State CA , Servite, 2021

Avinger had a great game against St. John Bosco but found himself at the wrong end of a highlight reel touchdown by Matayo Uiagalelei Matayo Uiagalelei 6'4" | DL St. John Bosco | 2023 CA . That’s not his fault. He was in man coverage against someone seven inches taller than him and 60 pounds heavier. Avinger will still have a tough task this week covering the stellar Mater Dei receiving corps led by Josiah Zamora and CJ Williams CJ Williams 6'2" | WR Mater Dei | 2022 State CA . He is signed with San Diego State.

Nick Jako, Servite, 2021

Jako is an outside linebacker and strong safety hybrid who will be responsible for making sure that Mater Dei’s running backs Marceese Yetts Marceese Yetts 5'8" | RB Mater Dei | 2021 State CA and Raleek Brown Raleek Brown 5'9" | RB Mater Dei | 2022 State CA don’t get outside for massive plays. He is speedy enough to be effective in pass coverage and big enough to shed blocks from pulling guards and tight ends. He was also a very good lacrosse player at Servite which speaks to his athleticism. Jako is committed to Davidson.

Tobiah Centers, Servite, 2021

Centers is a big and fast defensive end for Servite who has improved greatly. He is 6-foot-2 and around 230 pounds and has the speed of a linebacker. He isn’t just an edge rusher like some fast defensive ends. He has good inside pass rush moves and is effective on twists and stunts. Centers has an offer from New Mexico Highlands University.