#7 St. John Bosco beats #3 Mater Dei for CIF Southern Section Division 1 title

St. John Bosco footballSt. John Bosco celebrates 2016 CIF Southern Section Division 1 championship.
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After blowing halftime leads against #1 Bishop Gorman (Nevada) and #2 Mater Dei (California) during the regular season, St. John Bosco head coach Jason Negro wanted to make sure his team wouldn’t have any letdowns in its rematch with Mater Dei in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 championship game. All week, Negro talked about finishing, and the #7 Braves (California) did that in a 42-28 win against the Monarchs on Saturday at Angels Stadium before 13,466 fans.

Related: St. John Bosco moves to No. 2 in NEW High School Football America Top 25

St. John Bosco (12-2) owned a 21-14 halftime lead that they were able to maintain and expand thanks to a punishing ground game behind an offensive line that averages more than 300 pounds and is anchored by U.S. Army All-American Wyatt Davis, who was moved from his usual left tackle spot to left guard.

“Everything we talked about (this week), we did,” said Davis, who’s given his verbal commitment to Ohio State. “We executed. We learned from mistakes we made in previous game. I’m so proud of my guys.”

“They (offensive line) controlled the line of scrimmage,” said Negro, who won his second CIF Southern Section title as Bosco’s head coach. “Wyatt did a great job of playing physical. The results speak for themselves…we ran the heck out of the ball.”

The Braves avenged their 26-21 loss on Oct. 21 with an offensive line that blew open holes leading to junior quarterback Re-al Mitchell (20 carries, 131 yards) and running backs Terrance Beasley (22 carries, 146 yards) and Demetrious Flowers (20 carries, 129 yards) all topping the century mark on the ground. Mitchell scored three times, while Beasley and Flowers each found the end zone once while combining for 376 yards.

“Our offensive line was amazing,” said Mitchell also passed for 87 yards on 9-of-16 completions. “All of the credit goes to the offensive line and a defense that did a great job too.”

Defensively, Bosco again was able to hold Mater Dei’s explosive offense in-check. The two games against Bosco are the only games in which the Monarchs (13-1) scored fewer than 42 points.

Sophomore quarterback J.T. Daniels, who’s had one of the best seasons ever for a Southern California quarterback, was 21-of-35 with three interceptions, which matched his season total, coming into the game. His two touchdown passes give him 67 for his record-breaking season.

One of the key defensive plays came with 1:49 to go in the third quarter when Tyrel Thomas scored on a 40 yard Pick-Six that gave the Braves a 35-14 lead.

St. John Bosco ran 79 offensive plays to 49 for Mater Dei and also dominated time of possession 32:14 to 15:46. Another big stat for Bosco was the fact that they were 11-of-18 on 3rd down conversion and 3-of-4 on 4th down conversion attempts.

“They (St. John Bosco) had a great game plan,” said Mater Dei head coach Bruce Rollinson. “We’ll be back.”

Bosco advances the CIF State Open Division championship game where it will play seven-time state champ De La Salle on Dec. 17. In 2013, St. John Bosco beat De La Salle 20-14 in the Open Division championship game.  De La Salle, which clinched its 25th consecutive NorCal title Friday night, has won the last two titles.

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Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.