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Cassius Stanley ignited a third-quarter surge for No. 1 Sierra Canyon that propelled the Trailblazers (7-0) to an 83-67 win over Corona Centennial on Tuesday night at Sierra Canyon.

Centennial had lost to No. 2 Rancho Christian 56-54 on Saturday night. The Huskies trailed by four points at halftime but Sierra Canyon was able to pull away. Stanley finished with 24 points. Scotty Pippen Jr. had 21 points and KJ Martin 17.

DJ Davis finished with 22 points for Centennial (5-2). Jaylen Clark had 16 points after picking up three fouls in the first quarter.

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Freshman Skyy Clark scored 26 points for Oaks Christian on Monday night.
Freshman Skyy Clark scored 26 points for Oaks Christian on Monday night. (Eric Sondheimer)

As the oldest of six children, freshman Skyy Clark of Oaks Christian is already setting a high standard of excellence for his siblings. He’s averaging 26 points, which is the exact total he scored on Monday night to help the Lions defeat Brentwood 69-63 in overtime in an opening game of the Beverly Hills tournament.

“He’s very mature for his age,” Oaks Christian coach Jordan Wild said.

Clark’s father is former Minnesota Vikings receiver Kenny Clark.

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Mater Dei players celebrate their upset win over St. John Bosco. The Monarchs play De La Salle on Saturday in CIF's Open Division bowl game.
Mater Dei players celebrate their upset win over St. John Bosco. The Monarchs play De La Salle on Saturday in CIF's Open Division bowl game. (Luis Sinco)

The CIF state championship Open Division football bowl game will be played on Saturday night at 8 at  Cerritos College. As expected, Concord De La Salle will represent Northern California. But the big surprise is Santa Ana Mater Dei earning a spot in a championship bowl game for the second consecutive season representing Southern California.

That’s because the Monarchs stunned unbeaten Bellflower St. John Bosco 17-13 in the Southern Section Division 1 final on Nov. 23. How did it happen? How could the Monarchs limit the Braves’ high-scoring offense to a single touchdown on their opening series?

St. John Bosco coach Jason Negro said he noticed very few strategic changes made by the Monarchs since they lost to St. John Bosco 41-18 in a league game on Oct. 13. There were a couple of personnel changes Mater Dei made because of injuries, but the big difference was Mater Dei being able to keep the Braves off the field through ball possession.

“The biggest change was they slowed it down,” Negro said. “They were methodical. They took the game plan we did in 2016 that kept JT Daniels off the field and it worked. They kept DJ [Uiagalelei] off the field. The thing that was frustrating was what we did to let it happen. There were six times we had devastating penalties that extended drives.”

Mater Dei’s time of possession was an astounding 31 minutes, 37 seconds compared to St. John Bosco’s 16 minutes, 23 seconds. St. John Bosco ran off just 15 plays in the first half of a 7-7 tie. The Braves never got another offensive touchdown after Jude Wolfe caught a TD pass on their opening possession.

“It was very uncharacteristic of how the season went,” Negro said of his team’s mistakes. “That’s the beauty of sports and why you play the game.”

One of the reasons Mater Dei won was the play of tight end Michael Martinez. He caught all five of his passes for 86 yards in the first half to keep the Monarchs close and take pressure off receiver Bru McCoy, whom St. John Bosco decided to double team.

“We put a big emphasis on double covering Bru and not let him beat us,” Negro said. “It left us a little exposed.”

In the second half, McCoy caught the tie-breaking touchdown. Thanks to the Braves having to pay attention to Martinez, McCoy had his opportunity to come through.

And yet, St. John Bosco got back into the game with a fourth-quarter blocked field goal with 10:12 left in which Chris Steele made the block and Trent McDuffie ran 74 yards for a touchdown. St. John Bosco missed the conversion kick, and that was a key moment in the game. Being down one point instead of tied was a psychological blow.

“All of a sudden, even after that amazing play, we’re down one,” Negro said. “It was very deflating. It was a frantic moment. There’s a lot of ball game left. We suddenly have all the momentum. You look up at the scoreboard and we’re still losing. One point makes a big difference.”

Overall, Negro said, “It was just a weird night. We couldn’t get any rhythm. We had so many uncharacteristic penalties that devastated us. Even on an interception we get a chop block. It was freaky.

“I was so proud of my kids. We fought and clawed. It was almost like a pitcher who doesn’t have his best stuff. He throws 120 pitches and is still battling. We got the ball back with 40 seconds left. That’s how hard we played and still had a chance. They won some one-on-one battles. In the first game, we won every one-on-one battle.”

Negro said, “I’d love to play them a third time.”

Unfortunately, he’ll have to wait until next October in a Trinity League game and maybe the playoffs. The two teams have played three consecutive seasons in the Division 1 final. Mater Dei is 2-1.

FOOTBALL

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA REGIONAL BOWL CHAMPIONSHIPS

Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Christian Hunter of Fontana Kaiser continues to be unstoppable running the football.

The leading rusher in California gained 331 yards and scored seven touchdowns on Saturday in Kaiser’s 48-40 win over Eisenhower in the CIF State Southern California Regional Division 3-A bowl game.

Hunter, 6 feet, 190 pounds. has surpassed 3,600 yards rushing this season in 15 games and scored 54 touchdowns. Kaiser advances to a state bowl championship game Dec. 15.

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Jordan Brinson of Westchester had 26 points Saturday night and led his team past Bishop Montgomery.
Jordan Brinson of Westchester had 26 points Saturday night and led his team past Bishop Montgomery. (Nick Koza)

The championship game of the BattleZone tournament at Corona Centennial on Saturday night had lots of drama.

Rancho Christian, ranked No. 2 in the Southland, defeated Centennial 56-54.

Isaiah Mobley finished with 19 points and made two free throws with 1.2 seconds left to break the tie. DJ Davis scored 26 points for Centennial.

Cael Patterson scored from nine yards out and again on a two-point PAT as Orange Glen scored with 2:05 to play and edged Locke 22-14 in the Southern California Regional 6-A championship game.

The play was set up by a Carlos Galvan stripped sack. The ball rolled free and was recovered at the 9 yard line by Orange Glen.

Locke had one final chance, but four plays produced a loss of seven yards with quarterback Mikel Beime sacked on fourth down by Ruben Ramirez.

Locke led 14-7 late in the third quarter with Beime hitting Ja'Quez Harvey with a 14-yard scoring pass and Jerome Cooper with a 26-yard TD pass.

The Patriots, who were wary of Locke’s speed, limited the Saints to 87 yards rushing on 27 attempts.

The Saints had 116 yards passing, 71 coming on one play. Locke held Orange Glen's Caleb Patterson to 122 yards on 30 carries, but he had a pair of TDs and a 2-point PAT.

In the 7-AA state championship game, Denair defeated Santee 42-14.

Saturday's results

STATE BOWL CHAMPIONSHIP

DIVISION 7-AA

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Friday, November 30th

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA REGIONAL BOWL CHAMPIONSHIPS

DIVISION 1-AA

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Rancho Christian held off Chino Hills 72-67 to advance to Saturday’s championship game of the BattleZone tournament at Corona Centennial.

Evan Mobley scored 27 points and brother Isaiah added 15 points. Onyeka Okongwu had 26 points and 15 rebounds for Chino Hills. Will Pluma added 16 points.

Rancho Christian will play Corona Centennial in the final. The Huskies defeated Rancho Verde 57-48. Jaylen Clark scored 23 points.