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No. 2 Mater Dei knocked off by St. John Bosco
SANTA ANA - Mater Dei and the rest of the Trinity League are now chasing St. John Bosco of Bellflower.
The Braves used a big special teams play at the end of the first half and a fourth-down stand early in the fourth quarter to grab sole possession of first place with a 27-19 victory at Santa Ana Stadium on Friday.
Mater Dei (6-2, 2-1), ranked second in the county and third in the Pac-5 Division, played the second half without two-way standout Thomas Duarte. The senior watched on crutches as St.John Bosco (4-4, 3-0) sealed the victory with its defense.
The Braves stopped Mater Dei running back JC Genova and two lead blockers on a fourth-and-2 from the St. John Bosco 9 with 7:24 left in the fourth to protect a 24-12 lead.
St. John Bosco, ranked fifth in the Pac-5, then forced an incompletion on fourth-and-3 from its 46 with about five minutes left.
The Braves drove for a 35-yard field goal by Reid Budrovich, putting the visitors up, 27-12, with 3:09 remaining.
Mater Dei quarterback Ryan McMahon tossed a late, 7-yard touchdown pass to Ben Humphreys, but the Braves and running back Darren Walker ran out the final 1:42. Walker finished with 181 yards on 24 carries.
Duarte said he took a knee to his thigh on a reception in the first half and suffered a bruise. "I'll be fine," he said.
The Monarchs trailed, 17-7, at halftime and chased St. John Bosco throughout the second half. Mater Dei grabbed momentum on a safety forced by linebacker Grant Moore with six seconds left in the third, which cut the Braves' lead to 24-12 going into the fourth.
But St. John Bosco made the fourth-down stand from its 9 to end the ensuing possession.
Mater Dei started fast as running back Treavon Coley scored on an 80-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage. The senior raced around the right edge of his offensive line, led by tackle Dave Bright.
But the Braves responded on their second possession, driving from their 25 for a 6-yard touchdown run by Walker, who tied the score at 7-7 with 5:29 left in the first quarter. The senior sparked the nine-play drive by breaking a 40-yard run on the first play of the possession.
Mater Dei seemed set to regain the lead late in the first quarter but the Monarchs missed a 22-yard field goal with 34 seconds remaining.
The Monarchs didn't lead again.
Budrovich booted a 46-yard field goal with 8:41 left in the second quarter to give the Braves a 10-7 lead.
St. John Bosco junior Brett Baldwin then returned a punt 74 yards for a touchdown with 44 seconds left in the first half. Budrovich added the extra point and the Braves led, 17-7.
Mater Dei continues Trinity League play next Friday by playing host to Orange Lutheran at Santa Ana Stadium. St. John Bosco will play against Servite at Cerritos College.