Category Archives: Sports

Sports: St. John Bosco Hockey Team Ices Competition, Freezing Out Former Number One Team In California

by Isaac Mays, Sports Editor

The Bosco Braves Hockey team competed at Honda Center, home of the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, on Thursday, January 26th, where they dominated Cathedral Catholic High School.

Cathedral Catholic was formerly the leading Division Two team prior to their matchup against Bosco. After their 4-0 victory, the Braves rank near the top the state for Division Three.

The Braves were able to complete this victory in front of their sister school’s very own Saint Joseph’s Cheerleaders. 

“I think it’s really cool that both members of the JV and varsity cheer team were given the opportunity to come out to support the hockey team. We haven’t had this opportunity in such a long time. It’s exciting to see the game firsthand,” senior Varsity Cheer Captain Patricia Schroeder said.

The Braves executed their victory with impressive plays by juniors Patrick Cech and Sebastian Pribula as well as freshman Kaden Curry. Cech held down the right wing on offense, putting some impressive shots in on the Don’s goalie. Pribula, the Brave’s goalie, had a total shutout with no goals coming to the back of the net. Finally, Curry played physical on the defensive end of the ice.

The 2022-2023 season has been prosperous for the Braves, as they stand at the top of the state. The success in key games, such as a victory over the Damien Spartans, the Pacific Ridge Puffins and fellow Trinity League foe JSerra Catholic. Through this, the Braves have solidified their hopes for playoffs. They are now in the process of gearing up for the road ahead of them.

“Getting the opportunity to play for the Bosco Braves and the organization has been a great experience for me,” said senior Michael Gutierrez. “I will never forget and always remember my senior year with Bosco.”

The coaching staff has played a crucial role in the development of the team overall. Head Coach Tomáš Kapusta hails from Zlín, Czech Republic, where he fostered a love for hockey at a young age. Coach Kapusta has earned two silver medals from World Junior Championships in 1985 and 1987. After that, he would be drafted into the NHL by the Edmonton Oilers based in Alberta, Canada. Finally, he participated in the Olympic Games of 1994, helping the Czech Republic National Team earn Bronze.  

Notably, former Bosco Hockey player and alumnus Emmett Croteau was drafted into the NHL this last year. Croteau was the 162nd draft pick for the Montreal Canadiens, where he plays the position of goaltender.

One of the ways the Bosco team is able to be so successful is the establishment of the team as a club, rather than the typical fashion of registering it as a high school sport. This means that the Braves are able to take on players from neighboring schools without breaking any official CIF rulings. The Braves utilize this to ultimately reinforce their squad, given the hockey culture is not relatively strong in the Los Angeles area.

Long Beach Polytechnic High School senior Jeremy Loosmore is a key left wing for the team. Loosmore values his privilege to play as a member of the Braves because his school lacks an official ice hockey team.

“It is an honor to be a part of such a strong program that develops the team to not only be high caliber players, but also successful men down the road,” Jeremy Loosmore said.

Through grit and determination, the hockey team has put themselves on the map as one of Bosco’s more successful sports. Join and support the Braves on this Friday against Capistrano United at Great Park Ice and Fivepoint Arena in Irvine at 4:30 pm.

Sports: Rugby Returns To Bosco

by Marcelles Williams

This is the first time the Braves threw on their rugby jerseys since Winter of 2019, in which they made their State Championship run. The squad is eager for their return, as they are no stranger to success on the rugby pitch.

Photo by SJB Student Life

A majority of the Rugby team were a part of this year’s 2022 Football’s National Championship team. Some of these players included sophomore Puka Moe, sophomore Epi Sitanilei and senior Gabriel Burch. This winning mindset has transfered over to the rugby field. Puka thinks that this winning attitude will be a big reason for the success of the team this year.

“Winning is winning, and I expect to do it at everything I do, including rugby and football,” said Puka.

The Braves are a part of the SoCal Interlastic Rugby Federation (SCRIF) league. The competition is fierce, as it includes Servite High School, Warren High School, Mira Costa High School and many more.

The Braves kicked off their season on January 12th at Bosco against the Servite Friars. It was a hard fought game but the Braves were not able to pull off a victory against their Trinity League foe, falling in a 19-12 loss. Even with the Braves coming up short, the team understood that this inaugural game was an indicator to the restart of a great program.

They are currently 2-2 and they believe that by the time the playoffs come, they will be ready to excel at the highest level. As one of the first squads following the pandemic, it is evident to see that the squad is still raw and will need to continue to use its upcoming regular season games to come into form.

Puka, who is one of the top players on the team, believes they will make the playoffs and have a chance to compete for a championship.

“We all believe we are talented and can really do something with rugby, but we do need a little more time because this was the first Bosco Rugby team in a few years.”

The Braves most impressive win took place at Bosco last Thursday. They played the Warren Bears and won in a game where Bosco scored a whopping 52 points against the bears and more than doubling their opponent in points, as Warren scored 21.

One of the senior leaders of the rugby team, Gabriel Burch, is really excited to finally be back on the field for the rugby team this year.

“I’m really excited for this year and can’t wait to see what this season has in store for us,” said Gabriel Burch. “I think people may be a bit surprised by us this year.”

Gabriel is passionate about this team and really embraces the Bosco Brotherhood. He is also super excited to have the program back for his last year at Bosco.

“These guys on the team are my brothers. I’ll do anything for these guys and I think they’ll do the same for me.”

The Rugby’s team’s latest match-up was the Cathedral Catholic Dons of San Diego. The back-to-back SCRIF league champions are top in the state. The Braves put up a fight but fell to the Dons with the final score 26-12 loss.

The Braves next match-up will be this Saturday at Fallbrook High School, as they look to get back into the winning column.

Sports: The Servite Friars Feared the Spear at Bosco Wrestling’s Senior Night 

by Ed Crowe 

On Tuesday, the Bosco Braves took on the Servite Friars and defeated them in a 71-6 blowout, making them Trinity League Champions. The favored Braves delivered a strong performance, claiming yet another league title.

It was also Senior Night. The seniors that were recognized included Nicco Ruiz, Mark Ayala, Michael Morales, Michael Barba, Julian Barajas and Nathan Boyce. 

Nathan, who has only been wrestling for one year, had a great match and contributed a decisive win for the Braves. Though brief, Nate cherished his wrestling experience at Bosco. 

“Since my junior year, I have felt welcomed by the other wrestlers as well as coaches and staff. It is a sport I highly recommend for students who want to experience the Bosco brotherhood,” said Nathan. 

With yet another accomplishment under the belt of the wrestling program, Head Coach Jeff Anderson, Class of ‘98, believes that the team showed significant improvement, but he also expressed the proverbial coach’s mantra.

“There is still room for improvement,” Anderson said.

The Bosco Wrestling program, which is now ranked fourteen in the nation per MatScouts rankings, performed fantastically in the Five Counties tournament. This tournament was highly competitive, with 84 teams competing for first place. The Bosco wrestling team scored a tournament high of 186.5 points, firmly securing the spot of first place.

Not only did the wrestlers take home first place, but ten wrestlers placed in the top ten individually. 

In the lower weight classes, freshman Sean Willcox placed second in the 106-pound weight division, freshman Issac Torres placed seventh in the 113-pound weight division, freshman Nathan Carillo placed second in the 120-pound weight division, freshman Tigran Greyan placed fifth in the 132-pound weight division and sophomore Joseph Antonio placed second in 145-pound weight class division. 

“Tigran Greyan has been developing very well. He has taken a couple of tough losses but seems to learn and improve each and every time,” said Coach Anderson.

In the higher weight classes, junior Yazir Tellez placed third in the 152-pound weight division, senior Julian Barajas placed fifth in the 170-pound weight division and senior Mark Ayala placed second in the 195-pound weight division. In addition to these eight wrestlers who placed in the top ten, senior Nicco Ruiz took first place in the 160-pound weight division, while also being named the Middle Weight MVP of the tournament. Sophomore Nicholas Sahakian also took first place in the 220-pound weight class division.

After winning the tournament, Coach Anderson was impressed by the performance each wrestler gave, but he also noticed areas of growth as the team looks ahead to CIF Team Duals. 

“Sometimes they start thinking too much on the mat wanting a more strategic match instead of letting the training take over,” said Coach Anderson.

The Braves have high hopes of showing further growth in upcoming CIF competition.  

Sports: 2022 CIF State And National Champions Sign National Letters Of Intent

by Christian Angel, Managing Editor

The CIF State and National Champion St. John Bosco Braves continue to excel as the number one team in the nation by MaxPreps, as twelve senior student-athletes signed National Letters of Intent over the Christmas break to compete and study at schools across the nation.

Photo by @boscofootball (Twitter)

The twelve student-athletes who signed on Wednesday, December 21 were:

DL Vaka Amasio-Hansen, San Jose State University
LB Deven Bryant, University of Washington (Early Enrollee)
QB Pierce Clarkson, University of Louisville (Early Enrollee)
CB Jshawn Frausto-Ramos, Stanford University
OL Sean Haney, Colgate
S RJ Jones, UCLA
S Ty Lee, UCLA
WR Jahlil McClain, University of Louisville
DB Hunter Nowell, San Jose State University
WR Israel Polk, University of Pittsburgh (Early Enrollee)
TE/DE Matayo Uiagalelei, University of Oregon (Early Enrollee)
CB Aaron Mikey Williams, University of Louisville

This signing day was special to Bosco Football, as many of the student-athletes who signed shared how this signing day was very heartfelt and special. Many thanked their parents, family members, coaches, trainers and all those who helped them get to where they are. Many of them shared their personal journeys.

For many of them and their families, it was a sacrifice coming to Bosco with the process of getting into their dream universities and making the ultimate decisions for the upcoming years. For many, it was not easy, but the student-athletes proved how hard they work on and off the field. This can be credited to the opportunities they have had at Bosco.

Safety Ty Lee, who signed to UCLA thanked all the Bosco Football coaches and staff. Notably, he gave thanks to Coach Chris King for being a mentor and friend while allowing him to be a leader for the defense. Ty also thanked Mrs. Jessie Christensen for being the backbone of the Bosco Football program and teaching him to be a great person on and off the field.

Defensive lineman Vaka Hansen thanked the two most important people in his life: his parents. He thanks his dad for being the reason he fell in love with football and inspiring him to be the best man he can be. He credits his mom, although she could not attend, for working hard everyday to put food on the table. Through this love and support, Vaka’s value of family within a team is what ultimately led him to San Jose State University.

“I really love the family environment. Coach Seumalo was a reason why I went there, as he coached NFL player Stephen Paea… and I think that is a great place for me to playing with Coach Brennan, he is a really good head coach and looks like a really good father figure for me,” said Vaka.

Unfortunately, tight end and defensive end Matayo Uiagalelei was not able to be present at the ceremony. Matayo had been hospitalized due to a blood transfusion and was recovering at home. In his place, Coach Jason Negro announced Matayo’s commitment to the University of Oregon.

“I have never had an opportunity to announce where I’m going… so I’m going to take full advantage of this and I’m going to do this right. Ready? The University of Oregon,” said Coach Negro.

Shortly after National Signing Day, WR Deandre Moore Jr. announced his commitment and officially signed to the University of Texas at Austin. Deandre picked the Longhorns over the University of Louisville and University of Georgia.

Many Bosco Football’s student-athletes will sign in early February for the second round of signees. For many St. John Bosco student-athletes who are still uncommitted in a variety of sports, many of them will continue to achieve their dreams and find places to continue their academic and athletic careers.

Sports: Bosco Basketball Knocks Off The “Team In Red” On The Road In Historic Trinity League Victory

By Brett Baligad, Senior Editor, & Isaac Mays, Sports Editor

After a blowout win against Servite High School, Bosco Basketball managed to hold on to a late game thriller in Santa Ana against the “Team In Red,” giving them a share of the top spot in the Trinity League. The victory marked the first time the Braves knocked off the “Team in Red” on their home floor and the first time the “Team in Red” has lost a league home game since 1998.

Last Friday, the Braves hit the road to Orange County to face Trinity League rival, the “Team In Red.” The much anticipated matchup featured at the time a 15-3 Braves squad coming off two commanding wins against Servite High School and San Ysidro High School. Mater Dei came into the matchup with a 13-2 record and a six game winning streak. 

The Braves and the Monarchs have a notorious rivalry across all boys high school sports. The last time the Braves beat the “Team In Red” this year was at the Rose Bowl in the CIF-SS Football Championship, 24-22. With that in mind, the Braves basketball team have had their rivalry matchup circled on their calendars for months.

“We’ve been thinking about that game all year,” said sophomore guard Elzie Harrington. “Everything we did leading up to that game, we just told ourselves that we could beat them, and we thought that it would be an upset if we lost.”

Early on in the game, the Braves found themselves trading buckets to keep themselves competitive. It would be sophomore Kade Bonam’s 11-point first quarter coupled by three shots behind the arc that would help push the Braves to a 19-19 first quarter. Bonam stands at 6’ 7” and weighs in at 205 pounds, and with a high level of post work, Bonam confidently uses his frame to dominate the interior.

With zero points coming off the bench during the entirety of the game, the Braves would begin to slow down heading into halftime. Paired with an impressive 13 point quarter from the home team’s freshman Luke Barnett, the Braves found themselves trailing 30-37 heading into the locker room at the half.

“It’s hard playing at Mater Dei. it’s like everything is against you there with their home court advantage. You’re going to get a slow spurt in the game, but we stuck together and got through it,” said junior guard and Loyola University of Chicago commit Jack Turner.

With the leadership of Head Coach Matt Dunn and the support of sophomore Elzie Harrington’s 14-point second half, the Braves forced a late 63-57 lead. Harrington’s ability to get teammates involved once again demonstrated leadership to show why he deserves the number one ranking in California and twelfth in the nation for the class of 2025.

“I’ve been trying to find different ways to contribute. We have people that can score. So yes, I want to shoot, but I know I can get rebounds and can I assist my teammates,” said Elzie Harrington.

Through a few late misses by the Braves and a plethora of free throws by the “Team In Red”, the home team went on a run to push the game to 63-63 down the stretch. It would be a knockdown jumper by Harrington and late game free throws by Turner, who scored 15 points in the game, resulting in the Braves taking the 67-64 final score. Even with two solid late game looks by the “Team In Red,” the Braves defense stood tall to hold off their greatest rival.

“At the end of the game, the team got the ball in my hands to shoot the free throws. They had confidence in me, and I had confidence in myself, so I just knocked them down,” said Turner. 

Last Friday’s historic win gave Bosco co-ownership for the top spot of the Trinity League with Santa Margarita. The Brave’s matchup against Santa Margarita is slated for next Wednesday in the Thunderdome at 7:30 pm.

“I think we can go undefeated in the league because we won that game at Mater Dei by 3 and we didn’t even play the best we could,” said senior guard and captain Delyle Williams. “We had a lot of mistakes that we made and if we just cleaned those up I feel like we could beat anyone”.

Sports: Bosco Wrestling, Dominant Ahead of League Play, Keeps A CIF State Of Mind

by Ed Crowe 

Ranging from the freshman to senior wrestlers, each member of Bosco Wrestling has committed their all this year in hopes of earning team Trinity League and CIF titles, as the Braves have placed in each of their non-league tournaments ahead of Trinity League competition.

Photo by @sjbwrestling (Instagram)

One wrestler in particular, senior Nicco Ruiz, has attained great wisdom and a love for the sport since he started wrestling at the age of six. Recently, Nicco took home the Sonora High School Tournament of Champions and Clovis High School Doc Buchanan Wrestling Invitational gold medals in the 160-pound weight class. Nicco was also awarded tournament MVP at both events. 

At the Sonora TOC, three more Braves took home gold: freshman Nathan Carrillo in the 120-pound weight class division, sophomore Nicholas Sahakian in the 220-pound weight class and, finally, senior Mark Ayala in the 195-pound weight class.

After winning an individual CIF State title last year and after a couple first place finishes in tournaments this season, Nicco is obsessed with winning state again this year. However, he has many other goals for his team, such as winning CIF State with the Braves’ team as a whole, and despite being committed to wrestle next year at Arizona State University, Nicco is far from complacent. 

“This commitment makes me want to be better than I am at the moment,” Nicco said. 

Another Brave wrestler to keep on the radar is junior Grigor Cholakyan, who is verbally committed to Stanford University and has a great opportunity, like Nicco, to qualify for CIF State.

As an upperclassman, Grigor believes that one of his advantages this year is his sheer strength, which in the wrestling world is a major advantage when stepping on the mat. Not only is his strength an advantage, but Grigor has also attained massive amounts of agility as well as experience from his eight years of wrestling experience. Though he puts in the work himself, Grigor credits his improvements and successes to his family.

“They all sacrifice so much for me to be at this school and to do what I love to succeed,” said Grigor.  

In terms of making State this year, Grigor believes he can take home gold if he is confident within himself, does the little things right every day and takes the State tournament one match at a time, as he slowly prowls to the title.

Grigor also has high hopes for his team because of how skilled and trained they are, but more importantly, they have their minds set on the prize, and if they can keep it like that, Bosco Wrestling will be unstoppable as they approach Trinity League competition and CIF playoffs. 

Life Of A Brave: Unsung Hero, Director Of Basketball Operations and Football Equipment Manager Coach Burrel Lee

by Christian Angel, Managing Editor

St. John Bosco’s Burrel Lee plays a vital role in the basketball and football programs. He works tirelessly to ensure the CIF State Champion football team is prepared with all their equipment and the basketball program runs smoothly.

Photo by Megan Nash, Director of Digital Marketing & Social Media

Coach Burrel is a well-known face within the Brave community. Whether it is as a substitute teacher, a proctor for an exam, Bosco Football’s Equipment Manager or Bosco Basketball’s Director of Operations, Burrel Lee has done it all.

Born in Compton, California, Coach Burrel graduated from Antelope Valley High School in 1993. He started off his career in the WNBA, working many years with the LA Sparks.

More recently, Coach Burrel was the Head Coach of St. Joseph’s High School Basketball, and currently is the CEO and Director of SoCal Buzz, a youth basketball team he created in 2010. There, he learned everything about game day organizational skills and basketball skills.

“In 2016 when Coach Matt Dunn called me to work with Bosco Basketball, without hesitation I said yes. And that is where I came in to help manage the program and organize all the pieces needed in order to make sure this program can continue to succeed,” said Coach Burrel.

Head Coach Matt Dunn is extremely thankful to have Coach Burrel on his team, as he goes above and beyond to make sure the basketball program is consistently one of the best in the state.

“I think every program needs somebody who is willing to do all the little things. You need that on your team. You also need that on your coaching staff, and it’s incredible the different things Burrel does and has done over the last few years,” said Coach Dunn.

He manages basketball game day operations, including team meals and travel. In addition, he manages many volunteers every game who help work security and admittance. He even prepares the entertainment for every game, and and when the game tips off, you can catch him courtside as the team’s PA announcer.

“As I help coach to set the gym up for the games, including freshman, junior varsity and varsity games, there are so many factors that fall in to achieve. From dealing with referees to picking out the different types of music to play to game day announcements to even making sure all the players, coaches and staff are well-equipped,” Coach Burrel said.

Coach Burrel is also essential to Bosco Football as Head Equipment Manager. He is one of the pillars of the program, making sure all equipment and technology are ready for game day. Coach Burrel has helped Bosco Football since 2013, and his work often goes unnoticed, as he works hard every Friday night with his equipment staff in order to make sure the team is prepared with live in-game footage on the sidelines as well as with coaches’ headsets and communications. 

He evens finds time in the Spring to serve as Bosco Baseball’s Bench Coach and Social Media Manager

Coach Burrel lives Don Bosco’s mission of being an educator with reason, understanding, affection and, most of all, humor, supporting and inspiring many each day to achieve their dreams. 

Sports: The Running Braves Raced To State As The Cross Country Team Concluded Another Great Season

by Isaac Mays, Sports Editor

St. John Bosco High School’s Cross Country team just completed another successful season, placing fourth in the Division Four CIF State Finals on November 29th. 

Led by Head Coach and alumnus Tim McIntosh ‘79, the coaching staff is proud as the Braves ran their very hardest this year. Coach McIntosh proudly holds 17 consecutive Trinity League Championship titles. The Braves are already excited as they look ahead to next season, as many of the younger members of the varsity team performed exceptionally well during the back half of the season.

A lot of the credit for the great season can given to the coaching staff. The runners reported that not only would Coach McIntosh assist them in all typical duties associated with his position, but he also went above and beyond with time predictions for each individual runner. This process is called “doping-out.” The athletes even stated that his precision was uncannily accurate.

“[Coach McIntosh] is one of the few coaches that will dope-out races for us, and that really helped us,” said senior Harold Munoz. “He predicts this based off previous times and is always right on the dot.”

Assistant Coach Ruben Solorza, an alumnus of the Class of ’13, also dedicated his time by running alongside the boys throughout many of the harder team exercises, which the boys said had a major boost on team morale.

Bosco’s star runner this year was junior Aiden Aldana, as he played a pivotal role on the team throughout their season. Other notable runners on the squad were seniors Harold Munoz and Isaac Becerra. Through their seniority, they both respectably served as dependable runners and leaders for the team. All three of these runners saw improvement in their personal records and overall performance throughout the season. This only helped rack up more points for the cross country team by the end of the season.

“There has to be a lot of practice and a lot of time put into getting faster,” Isaac Becerra said.

The team persevered through many challenges as illness plagued them, particularly during their CIF State Championship. The team reported that they were feeling generally under the weather and that their performance could have surpassed their fourth place finish if the situation was different.

The Running Braves hope to use this motivation for their season next year. Junior Aiden Aladna will have had another year to grow and fully leave his mark on the team as senior next fall. Many of the Braves will continue running during the track and field season, and the team is currently valuing their offseason while making the necessary preparations to perform to the best of their abilities during the Spring season. 

“Next year I’m going to go for all the records here,” Aiden said.

Sports: Bosco Football Reclaims Top Spot Nationally After Exacting Revenge Against The “Team In Red”

by Michael Barba

Bosco Football finds itself on the cusp of another national title after winning the Division One CIF Southern Section Championship at the Rose Bowl against their bitter rivals, the Team in Red. The Bosco Braves take on the Northern Section champions, the Serra Padres from San Mateo, at Saddleback College on Saturday in the Division One CIF State Championship, as they look to secure their third national championship in ten years. 

Photo by Bosco Football via Twitter

Bosco’s CIF-SS Championship match-up against the Team in Red was one of the most anticipated, if not the most anticipated, game of the season of the high school football season with nearly 16,000 fans in attendance.

The last time both titans met was on October 7th in Trinity League play, which ended in a close 17-7 loss for the Braves. The loss motivated the Braves to brush the dust off their shoulders and come back even stronger by the time the opportunity of the rematch came. 

“After we lost to Mater Dei the first time, we changed our mindset and put full focus on winning the championship. Our focus every day leading up to the championship game has remained the same,” said defensive backs coach, Darnell Lacy.

When the time came to show the results of that championship focus, the Braves did not disappoint. Despite the team in red leading Bosco 7-0 in the first quarter, quarterback Pierce Clarkson completed a forty-five yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Jahlil McClain to tie it up 7-7.

After a defensive struggle in the second quarter, the third quarter saw Pierce Clarkson complete another touchdown pass on a jump ball to tight end Matayo Uiagalelei, making it a 14-7 lead for the Braves. The Team in Red answered with another touchdown, but Clarkson completed another touchdown strike to senior wide receiver DeAndre Moore. Mater Dei would answer back, but the Braves defense would make a critical stop on the Team in Red’s two point conversion attempt. The final score was a 24-22 championship victory for the Bosco Braves.

“It was a great win because it meant a lot for the team, especially all the seniors, and it just goes to show how we really came together as a team,” said junior safety Peyton Woodyard. 

Because of the championship win against the Team in Red, the Braves will be taking on the Serra Padres from San Mateo, the Norther Section Champion, for the CIF State Championship, with Bosco needing the win to keep their national championship hopes alive.

Currently, the Braves have a 12-1 overall record, and the Padres are 13-0. Bosco holds the top ranking in the state of California and the nation, while Serra is ranked fifth in the state and 27th nationally. The Braves average 40.5 points and 72.3 tackles per game, while the Padres average 31.5 points per game and 36.6 tackles per game.

Get your tickets now to support the Braves in their journey to a third national championship on Saturday at Saddleback College. Kickoff is at 8 pm.

Sports: Bosco Football Takes On Mission Viejo Diablos In CIF Semi-Finals

by Michael Barba

The St. John Bosco Braves are prepared to take on the Mission Viejo Diablos on the road and propel themselves to CIF Southern Section Finals.

Photo By Alex Diaz, Photo Editor

The Braves are only two games away from being CIF-SS Champions, but Bosco Football is staying focused on the task ahead of them, as Mission Viejo is ranked number 25 in the nation.

Heading into this contest, both semi-finalists have a record of 10-1. The Braves are currently riding a four game winning-streak, while the Diablos are on a eight game winning streak. So without a doubt, both teams are going into this game riding high with confidence.

“Everybody has been locked in. Our coaches have done a great job with helping us prepare for the playoffs, and this week is no different,” said senior wide receiver DeAndre Moore.

This is going to be one competitive game, and both teams are going to be seeing familiar faces heading into this matchup, as the Braves took on the Diablos in a seven-on-seven match over the Summer. The match ended in a loss for the Braves, but they’re now itching to face the Diablos in pads, where it counts most. 

A familiar face in particular on the opposing sideline is Mission Viejo Head Coach Chad Johnson, who used to be the Offensive Coordinator of the Braves during their first National Championship run.

Both of these competitors have some of the best stats in the country this season on both sides of the ball. The Braves currently have 149 pass completions, 69 touchdowns, 853 total tackles and 32 sacks, while the Diablos have 177 pass completions, 62 touchdowns, 930 tackles and 41 sacks. The national averages of these stats, according to MaxPreps, are 75 pass completions, 60 touchdowns, 450 tackles and 13 sacks, numbers both teams comfortably exceed.

If the Braves win this match, it will be their first time heading into CIF-SS Finals since their seven year streak of playing in the championship was broken last season. This allows them to have a competitive edge heading into the big game this Friday at Mission Viejo, as the Braves seek redemption. 

“Heading into this game, we have had a quiet confidence, which is what most of our team exudes and has been led by our senior group, as they have come together over the last few months.” said receiver coach Nate Munson. “So, we’re really excited to compete against some of the best teams in the state and that’s why we’re looking forward to tomorrow night.” 

Prior to this game against Mission Viejo, the Braves played their quarterfinal game against a familiar Trinity League foe, the Orange Lutheran Lancers, at the Panish Family Stadium last Friday. The contest ended in a dominant 49-14 win for the Braves. 

The Braves completed 22 passes and scored a total of seven touchdowns, which were scored by senior quarterback Pierce Clarkson, senior wide receiver DeAndre Moore, senior tight end Matayo Uiagalelei and senior wide receiver Israel Polk. The Braves defense also showed out with 38 tackles and five sacks.

Don’t forget to get your tickets to the game tonight, which starts at 7 p.m. at Mission Viejo High School.

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