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  • Tyler Harden

St. John Bosco handles Los Alamitos in action packed matchup, advances to Division 1 semifinals

Photo Credit: Orange County Register (Scott Varley)

BELLFLOWER, CALIFORNIA— There’s no more anticipated time during the high school football season than the playoffs. However, anticipated would be an understatement when describing the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs. With arguably the eight best teams in Southern California battling it out to represent Southern California in the Division 1 state playoffs, it could be anybody’s chance to win it all any given week.

St. John Bosco looked to keep their dominance going just as they have all season, as the Braves are currently a Top 5 team in the country despite a loss to Mater Dei. But the Braves were up for a test in the opening round. The Los Alamitos Griffins, led by five-star junior quarterback and Oklahoma commit, Malachi Nelson, are arguably one of very few schools outside the Trinity League that can hang with St. John Bosco. Despite all the star power the Griffins came in with, St. John Bosco’s star power is just unmatched, and that star power bought them another week of high school football.

Los Alamitos started the game the way they had to in order to keep up with St. John Bosco. The Griffins went right down the field, and Sinn Brennan capped off the drive with an 8-yard rushing touchdown to give Los Alamitos an early 7-0 lead (PAT good).

St. John Bosco came right back, however, as running back, Rayshon Luke, ran down the field for a 78-yard touchdown, tying the game at 7 (PAT good). After the St. John Bosco defense came up with a big sack to force a turnover, Rayshon Luke came up huge for the Braves once again. The four-star recruit this time ran in the end zone for a 47-yard touchdown, giving St. John Bosco a 14-7 lead (PAT good). Los Alamitos attempted to close the gap with a field goal, but it was no good, and the Braves took advantage. St. John Bosco quarterback, Pierce Clarkson, ran in for a 9-yard touchdown, making the score 21-7 to end the first quarter (PAT good).

Los Alamitos attempted another field goal to start the second quarter, and this time it went their way. The Griffins made the score 21-10 with a 39-yard field goal by Tyler McLachlan. Once again, St. John Bosco had an answer. Running back, Jabari Bates, ran for a 56-yard touchdown to make the score 28-10 (PAT good). Los Alamitos came right back, as Malachi Nelson completed a 79-yard pass for a touchdown to Achilles Campos-Barret (PAT good).

The Braves defense made sure they made up for the score on Los Alamitos’ possession, as RJ Jones intercepted a pass, and gave the St. John Bosco offense the ball at their own 20-yard line. Quarterback, Katin Houser, got the Braves down the field from there, and ran in for a 1-yard touchdown to finish the drive, making the score 35-17 (PAT good). The Los Alamitos defense then made a big play of their own, as cornerback, Ethan O’Connor, came up with an interception, and gave the Griffins the ball at their own 34-yard line to end the first half.

Achilles Campos-Barret got the second half going for Los Alamitos, as he blocked a punt and gave the offense the ball at the St. John Bosco 27-yard line. Malachi Nelson took over from there, completing a 25-yard touchdown pass to Ethan O’Connor to make the score 35-24 (PAT good). Pierce Clarkson then made a huge play of his own, finding wide receiver, Colin Chase, for a 77-yard touchdown, extending the Braves’ lead to 42-24 (PAT good).

Malachi Nelson continued to show why he is one of the best quarterbacks in the country, as he found fellow Oklahoma commit and junior wide receiver, Makai Lemon, on the Griffins’ next possession for a 17-yard touchdown to make the score 42-31 (PAT good). Rayshon Luke got going once again for the Braves, running down the field for an 80-yard touchdown to end the third quarter (PAT good).

Jabari Bates kept St. John Bosco’s momentum going at the start of the fourth quarter, running in the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown, and making the score 56-31 (PAT good). Los Alamitos still wouldn’t go away, however, as Malachi Nelson led the Griffins down the field, and found Makai Lemon once again, this time for a 13-yard touchdown (PAT good).

But the Griffins were low on time to come back, especially after Michael Hayes sealed the deal for St. John Bosco with a 19-yard rushing touchdown to make the score 62-38 (PAT good). St. John Bosco showed their dominance in an important test, and survives and advances to the next round with a 62-38 win.

St. John Bosco improves their record to 10-1, and will advance to the semifinals of the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 playoffs. The Braves will have a rematch with Servite, a game in which they won 24-10 on October 29th. Los Alamitos ends their season with a record of 9-2.

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