Sports: A Slow Start And A Brave Finish Last Week in Trinity League Opener Sets Stage for Battle Against Servite
by Diego Santizo, Sports Editor
Despite only leading by one at halftime, Bosco rolled over Santa Margarita in the second half and is now ready to take on Servite tonight.
The high school football spring season in California enters its third week of action with one of the biggest games of the year on tap, as the 2019 MaxPreps National Champion St. John Bosco Braves host the Servite Friars at Panish Family Stadium.
The Friars are 2-0 and ranked No. 2 in the Orange County top 25, behind only Mater Dei. The last two Friar victories have been against Damien, which ended 42-6 and Orange Lutheran, which ended 69-13.
The Friars will take on the current CIF Southern Section Division 1 and CIF State Open Division champions from last year in the Bosco Braves, who are currently 2-0 with wins of 42-21 over Sierra Canyon and 65-28 over Santa Margarita and are ranked No. 1 in the CalHiSports.com state rankings.
St. John Bosco showed why they are the reigning national champions, as they erupted for 37 points in the second half to defeat Santa Margarita 65-28 on Saturday in their Trinity League opener.
Santa Margarita (1-1, 0-1) and quarterback Colt Fulton showed their improvement by taking a 20-14 lead in the second quarter before the Braves (2-0, 1-0) started to roll. They scored 24 consecutive points to open a 38-20 lead and closed the game with a 27-0 run.
Fulton passed for 161 yards and three TDs in the first half to help the Eagles push the Braves. He tossed two scores to Murphy, including an 11-yarder that gave Santa Margarita a 20-14 lead with 8:37 left in the half. The 2-point conversion attempt failed and that was the last time the Eagles led.
Friday will be a totally different story as the Braves defense will have to handle the task of locking down Quarterback Noah Fifita of Servite. Fifita can do a lot at the quarterback position. Fifita is coming off a game in which he threw for 290 yards and four touchdowns on 17 of 19 passing and ran for two touchdowns during a 69-13 league victory over Orange Lutheran.
On Friday, he’ll be St. John Bosco’s problem when the ball is kickoff at 7:00 PM PT and coach Jason Negro knows what is team is up against.
“He’s probably one of the best quarterbacks, obviously, in the league without question. He’s extremely dynamic, he’s a playmaker, he’s got a lot of skill-set, very accurate passer with a strong arm”, Negro said in an interview with the Long Beach Press Telegram.
The quarterback duo of sophomore Pierce Clarkson and junior Katin Houser — the replacements for DJ Uiagalelei, who is now at Clemson — each had their moments connecting with wide receiver Jode McDuffie, who helped pace the offense with eight catches for 172 yards and three TDs against Santa Margarita.
Uiagalelei’s younger brother, Matayo, helped highlight the closing stretch by leaping from his defensive end spot for an interception that he returned about 15 yards for the score.
The Braves also rushed the ball well with the dual-threat Clarkson (101 yards) and the running back trio of Rayshon Luke (110), Jabari Bates (98) and Michael Hayes (38). St. John Bosco rushed for 208 yards and three scores in the first half behind its large offensive line and multiple options. Luke broke a tackle en route to his 82-yard TD run while Bates rushed for two touchdowns.
St. John Bosco led 28-20 at halftime on a late strike by Clarkson to McDuffie and timely stops on defense. Clarkson closed the half by rolling to his right and tossing a 32-yard TD pass to McDuffie with 23 seconds remaining. The Braves drove for the score after forcing Santa Margarita to give up the ball on downs at the St. John Bosco 41 with 58 seconds left.
The Braves’ defense also held on fourth down from its 35 with 4:58 left thanks to a sack by Ryan Tuaolo.
Panish Family Stadium will be seating limited fans tonight, as St. John Bosco and St. Joseph students now have the opportunity to win tickets for the upcoming remaining home games. Braves and Jesters both had the opportunity to win tickets for the upcoming game against Servite via raffle.
The instructions for the next home game are to check your student email and enter the raffle for an opportunity to secure a seat to see the action.