Showdown Time in SoCal

mater dei high school footballMater Dei and St. John Bosco 2017 Trinity League matchup
gamestrat high school football sideline instant replay

There’s been plenty of shuffling in the High School Football America 100 national rankings, but not at No. 1 and No. 2 where the two teams that started there in the preseason are still there. Tonight, No. 1 Mater Dei, which has won the last two High School Football America “mythical” national championships, hits the road to square-off with No. 2 St. John Bosco in Bellflower, California in what will probably be the first of two matchups between the two Southern California titans.

Over the last three years, the Braves and Monarchs have played twice a year…once during the Trinity League regular season and then once again in the CIF-Southern Section Division I playoffs. Every Part II game came in the CIF divisional championship.

In 2016 and 2018, the team that won the regular season contest, lost the playoff battle. In 2017, Mater Dei won both games on the way to the first of two national titles.

Quite honestly, this hotly-contested rivalry isn’t even ten years old. The genesis of it began when St. John Bosco alum Jason Negro took-over the reigns of the program in 2010. Until that time, nobody would accuse SJB of being a Trinity League power, let alone a national power.

Jason Negro (middle) on the sideline during the 2017 regular season game against Mater Dei.

Negro took over a program that hadn’t had a winning season in the Trinity League since 2004. After losing to Mater Dei during his first season, Negro owns an 8-4 record (8-5 overall) against the Monarchs, including six straight wins from 2011 through 2015.

Mater Dei/St. John Bosco Rivalry

2018 – Mater Dei 17 St. John Bosco 13 CIF-SS Division I championship

2018 – St. John Bosco 41 Mater Dei 18 Trinity League

2017 – Mater Dei 49 St. John Bosco 24 CIF-SS Division I championship

2017 – Mater Dei 31 St. John Bosco 21 Trinity League

2016 – St. John Bosco 42 Mater Dei 28 CIF-SS Division I championship

2016 – Mater Dei 26 St. John Bosco 21 Trinity League

2015 – St. John Bosco 41 Mater Dei 21 Trinity League

2014 – St. John Bosco 28 Mater Dei 25 Trinity League

2013 – St. John Bosco 34 Mater Dei 7 CIF-SS Pac-5 Championship

2013 – St. John Bosco 24 Mater Dei 2 Trinity League

2012 – St. John Bosco 27 Mater Dei 19 Trinity League

2011 – St. John Bosco 24 Mater Dei 3 Trinity League

2010 – Mater Dei 31 St. John Bosco 20 Trinity League

Bruce Rollinson
Bruce Rollinson is in his 31st season as Mater Dei’s head coach

On the other sideline is the legendary Bruce Rollinson, who is still going strong in his 31st season at the helm of his alma mater. Rollinson owns a record of 308-85-2.

I spoke with both coaches before the season on the High School Football America Podcast. You can listen to those interviews below.

Listen to Bruce Rollinson on being Preseason No. 1

Listen to Jason Negro on being Preseason No. 2

As far as Friday night’s matchup, most are looking at the two 5-star recruits at quarterback. Bosco’s DJ Uiagalelei, a Clemson-recruit, is the No. 1 Pro-Style QB in the Class of 2020, while Mater Dei’s Bryce Young, an Alabama-recruit, is the No. 1 Dual-Threat QB.

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About the Author

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.