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  • Tyler Harden

Elijah Brown throws for 5 touchdowns for Mater Dei in Game of the Year win over St. John Bosco

Photo Credit: Press Telegram (Kyusung Gong)

BELLFLOWER, CALIFORNIA— Every year, the Mater Dei vs. St. John Bosco matchup is hyped up to be the high school football “Game of the Year.” The hype was deserving once again this season; the game was sold out, a combined 60 players for the two teams held at least one Division 1 scholarship offer, and tickets were selling for $350 days before the game. One might say the matchup would be impressive even for a college football game. The last time the two programs met was earlier this year in April, as California pushed their 2020 football season to the spring. In a game Mater Dei won 34-17, the Monarchs came into the 2021 fall as the number-one team in the country. However, just like in the spring, the one team that will put up the strongest fight to dethrone Mater Dei is St. John Bosco. But the Monarchs found a way to stay on top as they always do.

Mater Dei started to move the ball down the field right from their first drive. Quarterback, Elijah Brown, led the Monarchs to the St. John Bosco 5-yard line, and then completed a 3-yard touchdown pass to Notre Dame commit, CJ Williams, to give Mater Dei an early 7-0 lead (PAT good). But St. John Bosco showed that they will hang with the Monarchs. Quarterback, Katin Houser, who is headed to play at Michigan State next fall, led the Braves to the Mater Dei 3-yard line. Houser capped off the opening drive with a 2-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 7 (PAT good). After the first quarter ended with the game tied at 7, everyone knew what type of game they were in for.

Both teams shared punts to start the second quarter, but Katin Houser ended the drought for St. John Bosco with a long pass to Chedon James to the Mater Dei 47-yard line. Houser then found Colin Chase for a 49-yard touchdown to give the Braves a 14-7 lead (PAT good). Elijah Brown got the Monarchs going again with a pass to CJ Williams to the St. John Bosco 30-yard line. Shortly after, Brown found Williams once again for a 29-yard touchdown, tying the game at 14 (PAT good).

The game continued to go back-and-forth, as St. John Bosco went right down the field once again to the Mater Dei 20-yard line. Quarterback, Pierce Clarkson, then completed a pass to Chedon James for 22-yard touchdown (PAT good). Mater Dei had an answer. Elijah Brown found Cooper Barkate for a 23-yard touchdown, evening the score at 21 going into halftime (PAT good).

Pierce Clarkson and St. John Bosco went back to work to start the second half, as he found Jabari Bates for a pass with a big gain to the Mater Dei 27-yard line. However, the Mater Dei defense forced a turnover on downs from there, taking over at their own 29-yard line. The Monarch offense took advantage. Elijah Brown found Cooper Barkate once again, this time for a 25-yard touchdown (PAT good).

The Mater Dei forced another punt from St. John Bosco, and the offense kept their foot on the gas. After Elijah Brown connected with CJ Williams to bring Mater Dei to the St. John Bosco 18-yard line, Brown found Jack Ressler for a 14-yard touchdown, extending their lead to 35-21 (PAT good). The third quarter ended with Mater Dei in the lead by two scores.

St. John Bosco found some momentum at the start of the fourth quarter, advancing all the way to the Mater Dei 18-yard line. But the Mater Dei defense did not let them any further, forcing another turnover on downs. But both teams struggled to find rhythm from there, forcing to share punts. That was until Mater Dei running back, Ajon Bryant, ran for a 21-yard touchdown, making the score 42-21 (PAT good). St. John Bosco didn’t have any answers after that, and Mater Dei walked away with huge 42-21 win.

Mater Dei advances to 4-0, and defeats St. John Bosco for the second year in a row. The Monarchs will head on the road to take on Orange Lutheran next week on Friday, October 8th at 10 PM ET (7 PM PT). St. John Bosco falls to 5-1, and hopes to bounce back next week against JSerra Catholic on Friday, October 8th at 10 PM ET (7 PM PT).

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