If you have the best football player on the field and he stands 6 feet 5, weighs 310 pounds and is headed to Ohio State, you find a way get him involved. And that's what Bellflower St. John Bosco Coach Jason Negro did on Saturday night in the Southern Section Division 1 championship game against unbeaten Santa Ana Mater Dei at Angel Stadium.
Negro turned loose offensive lineman Wyatt Davis, and Mater Dei couldn't figure out what to do. He played guard instead of his usual position, tackle, and wherever he went, he caused carnage. St. John Bosco runners had gaping holes to run through, and Mater Dei could never recover.
The Braves (12-2) came away with a 42-28 victory, avenging losses the previous two seasons in the championship game. St. John Bosco is expected to be selected to play Concord De La Salle for the CIF state championship Open Division bowl game on Dec. 17 in Sacramento.
Terrance Beasley rushed for 145 yards, Demetrious Flowers had 120 and Re-al Mitchell 111. The battle in the trenches was clearly won by the Braves.
St. John Bosco held a 21-14 halftime lead, then pulled away in the third quarter when Flowers ran 66 yards for a touchdown and Tyrel Thomas returned an interception 40 yards for a touchdown. The Braves intercepted three of Mater Dei quarterback J.T. Daniels' passes.
St. John Bosco lost to Mater Dei, 26-21, in Trinity League play, but the Braves, as they did last week in a 49-47 semifinal win over Corona Centennial, got contributions from many individuals.
There was Terrell Bynum filling in at cornerback and hanging tough with Mater Dei's many talented receivers. There was blocking by St. John Bosco receivers to help backs Flowers and Beasley downfield. There was the steady play of the 16-year-old junior quarterback, Mitchell.
But most of all, there was the exceptional game plan concocted by Negro, offensive coordinator Chad Johnson and the defensive assistants to find a way to end Mater Dei's domination since the season began last August.
St. John Bosco's halftime lead was built on the strength of an effective running attack that picked up yards and helped keep Mater Dei's high-powered offense off the field. Flowers had a one-yard touchdown run. Beasley ran 24 yards for a touchdown on a pitchout. And Mitchell went 13 yards for a touchdown on an option play. The Braves gained 179 yards rushing in the first half and more than 300 yards in the game.
Amon-ra St. Brown kept the Monarchs in the game with a 49-yard touchdown reception with 1:14 left in the half. He had five catches for 127 yards.
The game was delayed for some 10 minutes in the second quarter after St. John Bosco coaches in a suite got into a conflict with a Mater Dei fan. The fan was escorted away by security.
Mater Dei's big problem was handling the right side of St. John Bosco's offensive line. Davis and center Tavita Moe were creating opportunities for the running game.