There was a monster showdown out West Thursday night when the state of California's No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams went at it. No. 1 Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei prevailed over No. 2 Corona (Calif.) Centennial 51-37 and the star of stars on this night was clearly Monarch quarterback Matt Barkley.
Although just a junior, we've been touting Barkley as the top quarterback prospect in the West right now for some time and he showed why on Thursday. The signal caller made big throw after big throw, took some hellacious shots in the pocket but bounced right back up and threw some balls that honestly, a lot of the quarterbacks in the Pac-10 couldn't make.
Barkley finished the night 21 of 33 for 366 yards and two touchdowns, including a six yard score with 5:07 left that turned out to account for the final score of the game. Stats don't even begin to tell the story of how impressive Barkley was on this night however.
In a game that was dominated by the offenses, Barkley had little margin for error knowing if he didn't move the ball and put the team in the end zone, they had no chance to win. Several of his throws came on third and long and his accuracy and the arm strength were both off the charts on this night.
The ball comes out of Barkley's hand so effortlessly. Everything is so smooth and easy yet the ball flies out like it was shot out of a cannon. His-15 yard touchdown pass to his cousin Robbie Boyer was from the right hash to the left corner of the end zone and was an absolute frozen rope.
His poise was extremely impressive as was his toughness. Centennial had to blitz to get to him but when they did, they delivered some shots. Barkley hung in the pocket until the last minute, took the hit and then bounced back up and did it all over again. His ability to find his second and third option was also impressive as was his ability to buy some time in the pocket while still looking down the field.
To sum it up, Barkley is a very special talent and the main reason the Monarchs are ranked among the top five teams in the nation this year. USC continues to lead big for the signal caller and could receive his commitment before the end of the year.