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St. John Bosco dominates in second half to beat Sierra Canyon

St. John Bosco quarterback Pierce Clarkson runs for a touchdown.
St. John Bosco quarterback Pierce Clarkson absorbs a hit by Sierra Canyon defensive back Dylan Nelson en route to a touchdown in the first half.
(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

With two talented quarterbacks, plus the fastest running back in California, Bellflower St. John Bosco is just touching the surface of what it might try to do on offense during its six-game spring season. Add to that a rugged, powerful group of linemen.

“It’s going to escalate,” coach Jason Negro said Saturday night after a 42-21 victory over visiting Chatsworth Sierra Canyon. “We’re going to do so many different things. We’re going to get more creative.”

Rayshon Luke, St. John Bosco’s running back who was the fastest freshman in California a couple of years ago, showed off his speed with a 67-yard touchdown run. He’s a weapon few other teams can deploy. One mistake and he’s headed to the end zone.

Then there’s junior quarterback Katin Houser. He connected with junior Chedon James on two touchdown passes while showing off the kind of precision arm that makes college coaches drool. He and sophomore Pierce Clarkson alternated on each offensive possession. Both played well. Clarkson had a 21-yard touchdown scramble.

Sierra Canyon, making its debut as a Division 1 team, looked every bit like it was ready to play with the big boys.

“They’re a good team,” Negro said.

 Sierra Canyon players enter the field.
Sierra Canyon players enter the field for the first game of the season.
(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)
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Sierra Canyon came out with a loose, aggressive attitude. Linebacker Cole Bullock ran onto the field waving to St. John Bosco players, then pulled off his helmet and let loose a scream in warmups. The Trailblazers didn’t care that few gave them a chance to be competitive because they scored on their opening drive when DJ Harvey caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Daniel Duran, a transfer from Ventura St. Bonaventure.

St. John Bosco would score 21 consecutive points for a 21-7 lead. Luke had a 17-yard touchdown run, Michael Hayes contributed a 10-yard scoring run and Clarkson scrambled for the 21-yard touchdown.

But Sierra Canyon wasn’t finished. Taking advantage of a personal foul by St. John Bosco to keep the drive alive, the Trailblazers pulled off a little trickery on a fake fly sweep and Duran found wide-open tight end Henry Deakins for a 19-yard touchdown to end the half down 21-14.

The key to staying with the Braves is up front. Sierra Canyon was holding its own on the offensive and defensive lines.

St. John Bosco took control in the second half, though. The defense got a fourth-down stop, and Luke found an opening to go off to the races. The Braves’ receivers are a work in progress, but James stepped up as did tight end Matayo Uiagalelei, younger brother of Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei, who came to town for the game. Matayo made a couple of important catches Saturday and will be a reliable target.

Sierra Canyon made its Division 1 debut against St. John Bosco on Saturday night in Bellflower. Here are the best images from the game.

It was the first game after 11 months of waiting for football to begin, but much was learned. Sierra Canyon was right to take on the assignment of playing the best team it has ever faced. The Trailblazers displayed a talented running back duo in Jason Jones and Anthony Spearman. They’ll be running over defenders from the end of March until the middle of April.

St. John Bosco is ready for what is shaping up as a playoff-like five-game run in the Trinity League. First up next week is a game against a dangerous Santa Margarita team that has the league’s only senior quarterback starter in Colt Fulton, who passed for 315 yards Friday night in a 54-16 win over Lakewood Mayfair.


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