Sports: More Than A Year After Their ComeBack Win Over “The Team In Red”, Bosco Football Is Set To Return In January

by Diego Santizo, Sports Editor

The best High School Football team in the nation will open up the season at home on January 8th against Northern California Powerhouse De La Salle.

St. John Bosco Braves Edward Riley (51) and teammate middle linebacker Ma’a Gaoteote (10) stop De La Salle Spartans quarterback Dorian Hale (10) during the first half of the 2019 CIF Open Division State Football Championship game at Cerritos College in Norwalk, Calif. on Saturday December 14, 2019. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

When it was announced this week that De La Salle High will travel to Bellflower on Jan. 8 to open its unusual season against the St. John Bosco Braves, it was just the latest unique aspect to the 2020 high school football season, which won’t take place until 2021.

The national high school football powerhouses made the announcement Wednesday, about 10 months after they met for the state’s Open Division title, which resulted in a St. John Bosco victory.

The two all-boys parochial schools met in the CIF State Open Division championship game last December, when Bosco won its third state title game win over the Spartans since 2013. This will be the first time two teams who met in a CIF Championship Football Final had a rematch in the opening game of the following season.

Currently, the CIF has set up one weekend of games (April 17) after section championships in order to presumably play regional title games, but not for state championships. That would eliminate the possibility of De La Salle and Bosco playing later in the season. 

When the teams met in December for the Open Division state championship, Bosco’s DJ Uiagalelei threw for 398 yards and four touchdowns and ran for 64 yards and a touchdown as he lead his team to a 49-28 victory.

Bosco must replace the 6-foot-5, 245-pound quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei, now at Clemson, but return many of the state’s top senior recruits, including receiver Beaux Collins (No. 8 state ranking, Clemson commit), Guard Maximus Gibbs (No. 64, USC), Linebacker Andrew Simpson (No. 91, Kentucky), while also bringing in Cornerback Kamren Blanton (No. 87, UNLV), formerly from Long Beach Poly. Collins plans to graduate in December and enroll early to Clemson, so he will likely miss the game and season, but should help other Bosco receivers prepare for the game.

Sophomore Pierce Clarkson and Junior Katin Houser, a transfer from Liberty (Henderson, Nev.), will attempt to take the place of Quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei, the 2019 co-National Player of the Year, who accounted for 477 yards and five touchdowns in the win over De La Salle in December and played a key role in the Braves’ National Championship season in 2019.

Each school had scheduled a high-profile, out-of-state game to open its original 2019 slate. Bosco had been set to travel to Ohio while the Concord, California De La Salle Spartans team was going to play against North Shore in Houston. Both games were cancelled out of courtesy for today’s daily norm, COVID-19. 

All of the excitement around the announcement of this early season showdown is tempered by the realization that the COVID-19 situation means nothing is certain.

Much must happen for the game and season to take place. The California Interscholastic Federation, the state’s governing body of prep sports, plans to jam three traditional seasons into a January-June window, but counties have to first reopen and allow sports.

California is one of 15 states to push fall sports to 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic, leading to reworked schedules. It will be the first time the Braves and Spartans have met in the regular season.

Bay Area teams have been cleared to work out (with social distancing) since late Spring, while the Braves have been doing daily workouts (also with social distancing) since the Summer.

Local and state health and government officials will have the final say if high school sports can resume on that schedule. The DLS-SJB game is slated for Friday evening, Jan. 8, at 7 p.m. at Panish Family Stadium. That time is subject to change for television.

Go Braves!

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