In Angel Stadium on Dec 3, the St. John Bosco Braves won the California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section (CIF-SS) Division 1 championship against the Mater Dei Monarchs, 42-28, at arguably the most anticipated high school football games in the nation. The elite showcase included 30 NCAA D1 prospects and offensive lines of steel from both sides.
St. John Bosco kicked off to Mater Dei. The kick was a touchback so the Monarchs began on the 25 yard line. The Monarchs moved quickly down the field, utilizing running back Shakobe Harper as he slipped through Bosco’s defensive line. Wide Receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown was also vital in getting the ball down the field, catching two 13-yard receptions in the first three minutes of the game.
With the ball on the five yard line, Harper broke through Bosco’s defensive line for the first touchdown of the night. The extra point was good, 7-0.
Mater Dei’s defensive line slowed down Bosco’s first drive, making it tough for the Braves to run down the field. Bosco quarterback Re-Al Mitchell initiated various option plays to maneuver down the field. The Bosco receivers would tactfully help block for running backs Terrance Beasley and Demetrious Flowers down the field.
Beasley and Flowers brought Bosco down to first and goal and their progress is muffled until the fourth down. Flowers broke through the line into the end zone and the extra point was good, 7-7.
Mater Dei’s second drive of the quarter was slow as the Bosco linemen failed to let them move down more than 3 yards after a 15-yard reception. At fourth down, Mater Dei punted the ball of to Bosco, who made it to the 20 yard line.
Flowers found holes through Mater Dei’s defensive line because of the extra blocking and made gains down the field. The first quarter ended, 7-7.
Bosco continued to push down the field and successfully employed an option play, which allowed Flowers to slip through into the end zone, pushing past to Mater Dei, 14-7.
With 7:39 on the clock until halftime, the game was delayed because of Bosco fans harassing Mater Dei coaches in the stands. Fields officials and head coaches had to go resolve the issue.
Once the game started back up, Mater Dei attempted to push down the field but had an unsuccessful drive, hindered by Bosco’s linemen.
Bosco continued to employ the same tactics as before, using receivers to block and make holes in the Monarch’s line, allowing Mitchell, Beasley and Flowers to make serious gains down the field.
Ohio State commit Wyatt Davis, a 310-pound offensive lineman, was also key to Bosco’s successful drives. Positioned as guard instead of his usual position as tackle, Davis was able to decimate Mater Dei’s defensive line.
Mitchell, the junior quarterback, used the holes Davis made with 2:25 left in the half for a 13-yard carry into the end zone. The extra point was good, 21-7.
With a minute left in the half, Mater Dei receiver St. Brown made a 51-yard reception into the end zone, bringing the score up, 21-14, by the end of the half.
Bosco began the second half with possession of the ball, quickly scoring another touchdown after a 65-yard reception carry to Flowers into the end zone. The extra point was good, 28-14.
Mater Dei’s possession of the ball again was not conclusive. After making minimal gains down the field, at third down and 2, Mater Dei quarterback JT Daniels was sacked for a loss of 7 yards. Mater Dei then punted off the ball after the unsuccessful drive.
Bosco’s third-quarter drive was very similar to before, as Mater Dei had no clue how to deal with Bosco’s strategy. Flowers and Beasley drove down the field to about the 27 yard line. Mater Dei defensive linemen Nathan Logoleo intercepted the ball from Mitchell, hoping to turn the tide. However, the next play Bosco cornerback Tyrel Thomas intercepted the ball from Daniels and ran in for a touchdown. The extra point was good, 35-14.
Mater Dei was able to utilize their impressive non-senior offensive line in their next drive, pushing through Bosco’s defensive line by finding narrow holes down the field. Wide receiver C.J. Parks caught a 13-yard reception and dived into the end zone, raising the score up, 35-21, with the extra point.
With 11 minutes left in the game, Bosco drove down the field again but slipped up and were unable to score. A toss to Beasley was fumbled but quickly recovered. Bosco was also given two personal fouls in this drive. On about the 35 yard line, Bosco was unable to retain a first down and was forced to turnover the ball.
However as soon as Mater Dei gained possession of the ball, Bosco safety Stephan Baylock intercepted the ball from Daniels. The Braves carried the ball down quickly and Mitchell ran in for a 13-yard touchdown, solidifying their lead at 42-21 with the extra point.
Mater Dei received the ball on their own 25 yard line and began pushing through Bosco’s line. A flurry of receptions by Parks allowed the Monarchs to get into position for Harper to slide by Bosco’s line for a 35-yard carry into the end zone. This brought up the score, 42-28, with 1:40 left in the game.
Bosco then drove down the field, already confident in their win. They were unable to get the first down and turned over the ball with 28 seconds on the clock. Mater Dei hoping to close the gap of their loss shot down the field. However with 10 seconds left on the clock, Bosco safety Jaiden Woodby intercepted Daniels pass intended for St. Brown.
Bosco, CIF-SS Division 1 champions, will play Concord De La Salle on Dec. 17 for the state title.
Article will be updated with quotes and post-game interviews from key Bosco players.