Fryer: Preview & prediction for Mater Dei-St. John Bosco
GAME OF THE WEEK
NO. 1 MATER DEI (7-0 overall, 2-0 league) VS. ST. JOHN BOSCO (6-1, 2-0)
Where, when: Cerritos College, Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Live coverage: Fox Sports West
Coaches: Mater Dei, Bruce Rollinson (266-82-2 at Mater Dei); St. John Bosco, Jason Negro (68-18 at St. John Bosco)
Last time they met: 2015, St. John Bosco won, 42-21
Series: Mater Dei leads, 19-9
Analysis: It’s the game of the year, so far. The outcome will affect so much: national rankings (USA Today has Mater Dei at No. 3 and St. John Bosco at No. 10), state rankings (CalHiSports.com has St. John Bosco at No. 2 and Mater Dei at No. 3) and CIF-Southern rankings, which are so important to playoff seedings and have Mater Dei at No. 1 and St. John Bosco at No. 3 in Division 1. There is also the Trinity League championship at stake. These are the two best teams in the league, by a sizeable margin. St. John Bosco has won the Trinity League championship the past five years. The Braves have a 23-game league winning streak. They have six straight wins over Mater Dei, including the 2013 CIF-SS Pac-5 Division championship game. Former Trabuco Hills coach Jason Negro was hired by Bosco, his alma mater, to make the football program a success and Negro certainly accomplished that. This Braves team is a lot like Negro’s best Braves teams – speed at the offensive skill positions, at linebacker and in the defensive backfield, and big, tough players along the offensive and defensive lines. Senior quarterback Re-Al Mitchell (5-11, 183), who committed to Utah, has completed 66 percent of his passes for 1,286 yards and 13 touchdowns. In a 47-10 win over Santa Margarita last week, he threw for 214 yards and two touchdowns. Mitchell is fast. He finished second in the 100 meters in this past spring’s Trinity League finals. Mitchell has run for 457 yards and eight touchdowns and is averaging 8 yards a carry. Junior running back Demetrius Flowers (6-foot, 210) ran for 188 yards and two touchdowns against Santa Margarita. Bosco’s leading rusher, Terrence Beasley (590 yards), did not play because of an injury. Mater Dei sophomore quarterback JT Daniels has completed an astonishing 81 percent of his passes for 2,640 yards. Daniels’ 40 touchdown passes is a Mater Dei single-season record. The receiving corps is deep and talented. Mater Dei can run the ball too – averaging 107 rushing yards a game and 5 yards a carry. Their defense is allowing only seven points a game. St. John Bosco’s loss this year was to Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas, ranked No. 1 in the nation by USA Today and others. That loss could be to St. John Bosco’s advantage. It gave the Braves big-game experience the Monarchs lack. Mater Dei’s advantage might be special teams. Punter Ryan Stonehouse will be a field-position difference maker, and kicker Chase McGrath can make the long field goal in crunch time. And there will be some crunch time in this game.
Winner: Mater Dei
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Where Mater Dei and St. John Bosco rank in the polls:
MATER DEI ST. JOHN BOSCO
Orange County No. 1 Not eligible
CIF-SS Division 1 No. 1 No. 3
State:Cal-Hi Sports No. 3 No. 2
National: USA Today No. 3 No. 10
National: MaxPreps No. 4 No. 7
Also: In the HSFootballAmerica.com national poll, Mater Dei is No. 3, St. John Bosco is No. 6.
Mater Dei has lost its last six games vs. St. John Bosco:
2015: lost, 42-21
2014: lost, 28-25
2013: lost, 24-2 (regular season)
2013: lost, 34-7 (playoffs)
2012: lost, 27-19
2011: lost, 24-3
*St. John Bosco has won 23 consecutive league games. Its last league loss was to Santa Margarita, 28-20, on Nov. 4, 2011.