There were two plays in the first half indicative of how difficult it was going to be for San Clemente to pull off an upset of powerhouse St. John Bosco.
The first was when Bosco’s Colby Bowman caught a slant pass from D.J. Uiagalelei seven yards upfield, raced through the Tritons’ linebackers and flew by the secondary, finally coming to a halt 53 yards later in the end zone with defenders hopelessly trailing 20 yards behind him.
The next came on a screen pass to running back Keith Savage, who juked a San Clemente linebacker, then lowered his shoulder and leveled a defensive back a few strides farther. Forty-two yards later, the Braves were inside the five-yard line, about to score again.
Bosco, ranked the top high school football team in the country, looked every bit of it in its 56-6 win over San Clemente in a CIF Southern Section Division 1 quarterfinal at San Clemente High.
The Braves, who have outscored their last three opponents, 161-6, move on to face the winner of Saturday’s game between JSerra and Oaks Christian, which was postponed due to the effects of the Woolsey wildfire in Ventura and Los Angeles counties.
Bosco (12-0) didn’t need its offense on the field for its first two touchdowns of the game, instead allowing a couple of McDuffies to do the leg work.
Trent McDuffie, a senior, took Bosco’s first touch of the game up the right sideline for a 76-yard punt return touchdown after San Clemente went three-and-out on its first possession.
“The coaches like to use me all over the field because of my athleticism,” said McDuffie, who also added an interception, rushing touchdown and strip of a receiver and fumble recovery to his stat line.
“This was a game for us to go out and show everyone that we’re coming.”
Jode McDuffie a sophomore, and unrelated to Trent, one-upped his teammate with a 77-yard punt return touchdown on the Braves’ third scoring opportunity of the night, giving Bosco a 14-0 lead with 1:59 left in the first quarter.
San Clemente (7-5) got on the scoreboard as time expired in the fourth as quarterback Brendan Costello hit Jaydel Jenkins for a 17-yard touchdown.