Before every football game since quarterback DJ Uiagalelei was 9, his father, Dave, has taped his ankles. He did it again on Friday night before Bellflower St. John Bosco’s Division 1 semifinal game against Westlake Village Oaks Christian. If it’s for good luck, everyone should beg Dave to work his magic on them.
The 6-foot-5, 248-pound Uiagalelei completed 13 of 17 passes for 361 yards and six touchdowns to lead St. John Bosco to a 56-10 win, earning the Braves a spot in the championship game for the sixth consecutive season.
“The offensive line did a great job,” Uiagalelei said. “I had all the time in the world. I was cooking and making a sandwich.”
Uiagalelei passed for five touchdowns in the first half when St. John Bosco (13-0) took a 35-10 lead. Junior receiver Kristopher Hutson finished with five receptions for 155 yards, including touchdown catches of 46 and 56 yards.
“We and DJ were on the same page,” Hutson said. “The offensive line gave DJ time for us to get open.”
St. John Bosco now gets to face its Trinity League rival Santa Ana Mater Dei for the third consecutive season in the Division 1 championship game next Friday night at Cerritos College. Mater Dei won last year in the final and St. John Bosco won in 2016. When the teams met on Oct. 13, St. John Bosco beat the Monarchs, 41-18.
“I think there’s going to be as much interest and excitement in the game as it could be,” Southern Section commissioner Rob Wigod said. “It’s going to be a great matchup.”
George Holani started the scoring with a 35-yard touchdown reception on the Braves’ first possession. Oaks Christian (12-1) briefly matched the Braves when Zach Charbonnet broke off a 61-yard touchdown run to tie the score at 7-7. Then Charbonnet intercepted a Uiagalelei pass and returned it 52 yards, giving the Lions momentum deep in St. John Bosco territory. But Oaks Christian didn’t have the depth or speed to keep up. Charbonnet finished with 91 yards rushing.
Jake Bailey caught touchdown passes of 13 and 42 yards for St. John Bosco and Holani had a 13-yard touchdown run and added a 14-yard touchdown run. He finished with 139 yards rushing. Beau Collins added a 71-yard touchdown reception.
The game was played at Royal High because Oaks Christian has been closed this week while undergoing an environmental cleanup from the wildfires that struck Westlake Village. Both schools decided to donate their tickets proceeds from the game to the family of Ventura County Sheriff Sgt. Ron Helus, who was killed during the Borderline Bar and Grill shooting in Thousand Oaks last week.
Oaks Christian has faced plenty of adversity in the past week. With the campus closed and families dealing with evacuations from wildfires, the team scrambled to find practice sites. They also played without star defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, who was ejected from last week’s semifinal game.