Bellflower St. John Bosco turned to sophomore quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei when its offense was sputtering against host St. John's in Washington on Saturday, and the result was pretty stunning.
Uiagalelei helped wipe out a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to lead the Braves past St. John's 21-17 and leave St. John Bosco fans wondering if a quarterback controversy could be brewing.
After starting quarterback Re-Al Mitchell had two passes intercepted, the Braves brought in the 6-foot-4 Uiagalelei, who guided his team to two scoring drives for the win. He passed 21 yards to George Holani for a touchdown, then Holani added a two-yard scoring run with 1:59 left.
Holani scored all three touchdowns for St. John Bosco, which is No. 2 in The Times' high school rankings and improved to 4-1. Now the Braves get a week off before opening Trinity League play against Orange Lutheran on Oct. 6.
Another Serra star: Scott Altenberg, the veteran coach at Gardena Serra, is a little spoiled. He keeps producing NFL players such as Robert Woods, Marqise Lee and Adoree' Jackson. Now he has a junior cornerback, Max Williams, who keeps bringing back memories of the electrifying Jackson.
"He's very similar in a lot of ways," Altenberg said.
Williams blocked a field goal, returning it for a touchdown, and also returned an interception for a touchdown in Friday's 38-20 win over Mission Hills Alemany. He came close to returning a punt for a touchdown, too.
"Max is very humble and very quiet," Altenberg said. "He's definitely not the showman Adoree' was. But he's unbelievable. He's similar to Adoree' in that he comes to work every practice. He's ready to go."
Williams, who has a 3.8 grade-point average, said Jackson gave him a tip on punt returns. "Adoree' once told me once I see a crease or opening, to hit it. Also to always stay focused."
Serra (2-2, 1-0) is starting to get improved play from junior quarterback Blaze McKibbin, who passed for 252 yards and three touchdowns.
Next up is a Mission League showdown at West Hills Chaminade on Thursday night.
Three picks for TDs: Sophomore cornerback Clark Phillips of La Habra returned three interceptions for touchdowns in Friday's 49-14 win over Ontario Colony. He also picked up a scholarship offer from UCLA on Saturday.
Running wild: Justin Keeling, a 5-foot-8 senior at Moreno Valley Valley View, is leading all running backs in the state with 1,335 yards in five games. He's also among the leaders with 15 touchdowns.
Keeling had 311 yards in 38 carries and scored three touchdowns in Friday's 59-58 loss to Murrieta Mesa.
Alex Jung of Fullerton Sunny Hills has scored 14 touchdowns. He had 285 yards rushing in Friday's 36-7 win over La Palma Kennedy.