SANTA ANA – JT Daniels quickly selects his favorite running play. It’s almost as if the highlight flashes on a continuous loop in his mind. But the result sprung from his heart long before the third-and-long in mid-October.
It is late in the third quarter for the quarterback and Mater Dei in its season opener against St. John Bosco. The Monarchs hold a slight lead when Daniels steps up in the pocket to avoid the pass rush on third-and-10. In a flash, he accelerates past a linebacker near the line of scrimmage. The dash is on.
With the ball tucked in his right arm, Daniels’ left arm pumps high toward his chest with the form of a track sprinter. He races past a defensive back on a direct path toward the end zone.