Mater Dei and St. John Bosco renewed their storied rivalry on Saturday night, and it was a freshman getting his first taste of California high school football’s fiercest heavyweight battle who spearheaded his team to victory.
Mater Dei freshman quarterback Elijah Brown tossed four touchdown passes, leading the Monarchs to a 34-17 win in Santa Ana. Three of Brown’s four touchdown passes came in the first half.
After forcing St. John Bosco to punt on its first offensive series of the night, Mater Dei wasted no time getting on the board, its drive capped by a 12-yard touchdown pass from Brown to Williams. All it took was one play for St. John Bosco to answer back and knot the score up at seven, though, as Jabari Bates broke loose for a 66-yard rushing touchdown on the Braves’ ensuing drive. St. John Bosco stayed hot after Bates’ touchdown scamper, forcing a Mater Dei punt and grabbing a 14-7 lead on a 26-yard touchdown pass from Pierce Clarkson to Matayo Uiagalelei just before the end of the first quarter.
That was about as good as it got for the Braves on the night, as Brown and Mater Dei’s defense took over from that point on.
Brown countered Clarkson’s touchdown pass with a 26-yard scoring strike of his own, tying the score at 14 early in the second quarter. Mater Dei then forced a St. John Bosco punt and Brown immediately went back to work, finding Kyon Ware-Hudson his third touchdown pass of the half, this one an explosive 64-yard strike to put the Monarchs back up by seven.
St. John Bosco drove into the red zone on its ensuing offensive possession, but missed a field goal, keeping the score at 21-14. Mater Dei tacked on three more points before halftime, opening up its lead to double digits for the first time.
St. John Bosco cut into Mater Dei’s lead with a field goal in the third quarter, but its single-digit deficit was short-lived, as Brown hit Josiah Zamora for a 12-yard touchdown to make it a 31-17 game with 2:58 remaining in the quarter.
Mater Dei continued to lock in defensively with its lead up to 14 points, holding St. John Bosco scoreless in the fourth quarter. Junior cornerback and five-star USC recruit Domani Jackson effectively sealed the game with a later interception, bringing an abrupt end to St. John Bosco’s last-ditch comeback effort.
With the win, Mater Dei improves to 5-0 and clinches its latest Trinity League title. St. John Bosco, meanwhile, drops to 5-1.