Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) vs. St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.), one of the biggest rivalries in high school football, almost always has massive national champion implications. Typically ranked among the top five teams in the country (and frequently the top two), the Monarchs and Braves trade blows and pry for weaknesses as they try to get the upper hand in the regular season with the expectation that there will be one more matchup for the championship.
There very well may be one more game for the championship.
St. John Bosco created a seismic shift in the national ranking landscape with a victory that was anything but the usual tight-fought battle fans and teams expect. The Braves shut out Mater Dei 28-0, the Monarchs’ first time being shut out since 2011, and completely flipped the tenor of the season.
“We’re still a champion until someone knocks us off,” Bosco head coach Jason Negro said to the Los Angeles Times.
It’s a good reminder. Mater Dei has been ranked No. 1 in the nation all year despite Bosco winning the title last season. The Braves fell further in the rankings after losing to Kahuku (Hawaii) on Sept. 16, suffering a rare loss to a non-Monarchs team.
Any perceived shakiness was proven incorrect. That loss to Kahuku was simply a loss. In dismantling Mater Dei — a team that was not only undefeated so far this season but had not yet trailed in a single game — Bosco re-asserted itself as the top team in California.
Mater Dei quarterback Elijah Brown was held to just 10 completions on 21 passes for 115 yards, and he was picked off by cornerback Frankie Edwards. The Braves defense held Mater Dei below 100 yards in the first half, according to MaxPreps.
On offense, Bosco running back Cameron Jones rushed for 134 yards on 21 carries and had a pair of touchdowns, including a 20-yard reception.
Bosco scored a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 14-0 lead into the second half.
The Braves pulled a trick play out of its bag in the third quarter, with Stacy Dobbins catching a lateral behind the line of scrimmage, rolling right, and then throwing a touchdown pass to the wide-open Tommy Maher downfield.
Now it’s getting silly … ?
St. John Bosco with a trick play to go up on Mater Dei 21-0 with 6:49 to play in the 3rd.
Stacy Dobbins to Tommy Maher. Caleb Sanchez with the hockey assist. pic.twitter.com/HWVCz0ax9G
— Tarek Fattal (@Tarek_Fattal) October 14, 2023
Bosco iced the game in the fourth quarter with a rushing touchdown by Chauncey Sylvester.
With this shutout, St. John Bosco takes possession of first place in the Trinity League with just two games remaining in the regular season. All the momentum will be on the Brave as they seek another championship, one that may have to run through Mater Dei once again.
They’ve shown they’re ready.
Mater Dei will have to reckon with this shutout to the heated rival. In losing in this fashion, the No. 1 team in the nation will be vying to recover from this shock.
The shock ripples across not only California but the national Super 25 rankings.
Even if Mater Dei wins the Southern Section Division 1 championship, in which they may need to face the Braves again, a loss like this will be nearly impossible to recover for national championships consideration.
Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) is now 9-0 and has dismantled its opposition. Chaminade-Madonna (Hollywood, Fla.) is 7-0 with a handful of strong wins, and Duncanville (Texas) improved to 6-0 with a 51-0 shutout of its own.
That’s not counting St. John Bosco, either, who has found new life with this convincing victory. The Braves are back in contention for national glory.
More from the high school scoreboard:
USA TODAY High School Sports Super 25 football score recap
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