Southern California is the place where quarterbacks become household names as teenagers. Following in the footsteps of Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen and JT Daniels is D.J. Uiagalelei, a muscular 6-foot-5, 238-pound junior at Bellflower St. John Bosco. He flings passes with so much power that he can break a finger if the receiver is unprepared.
He’s ranked as the No. 1 college prospect for the class of 2020, and it really is a no-brainer. Just ask the good folks from Mililani High, who dropped by from Hawaii on Friday night and had no answer for Uiagalelei, who completed 26 of 32 passes for 373 yards and six touchdowns in a 52-14 victory.
“To me, it’s my offensive line,” Uiagalelei said. “When I have all the time in the world, it makes my job easier, and I have receivers I can trust.”
Stanford-bound Colby Bowman caught seven passes for 130 yards, including touchdown passes of 27, 30 and 25 yards. Khristopher Hutson, a USC commit, had six catches for 103 yards and one touchdown. Jake Bailey made seven receptions for 78 yards and one touchdown. George Holani broke off an 80-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
The offensive success helped overshadow a statistic that had coach Jason Negro promising lots of running for his team on Labor Day.
The Braves were whistled for 21 penalties for 187 yards. That’s not supposed to happen to a team ranked No. 1 in Southern California.
“We’re going to be running forever,” Uiagalelei said.
Said Negro: “It’s embarrassing and a lot of it was self-inflicted. I’ve never had a team with that many penalties in my 16 years.”
Many of the penalties were called on the defense. There were two roughing-the-passer penalties. Cornerback Chris Steele, a USC commit, picked up two holding penalties and a pass interference penalty in the first half.
Probably a little frustrated, the Braves’ defense rose up on the final play of the first half to stuff the Trojans on fourth-and-goal from the one. St. John Bosco came away with a 35-14 halftime lead.
Mililani (3-1) is one of the top teams in Hawaii. Quarterback Dillon Gabriel, committed to Army, used his scrambling and passing skills to put pressure on the Braves. It was good preparation to face a similar quarterback in Bryce Young of Santa Ana Mater Dei on Oct. 12. Cole Aubrey had four of his team’s seven sacks. Spencer Lytle added two sacks.
In Uiagalelei, the Braves have a talent to cherish, and he hasn’t come close to reaching peak form.
“I thank all the coaches for getting me better every year,” he said.