To play a football championship game at the 100-year-old Rose Bowl known as “The Granddaddy of All” makes the Southern Section Division 1 Championship game between No. 1 Santa Ana Mater Dei (12-0) and No. 2 Bellflower St. John Bosco (11-1) a historic night for high school football in Southern California.
Yes, these are all-star teams. It will be an unprecedented sixth straight season that Mater Dei or St John Bosco are Division 1 champions and the fifth time in the last six seasons that the two Trinity League schools have met for the title. This is no longer seen as a trend or random coincidence. It has become a fact that they have set themselves apart from the competition. Their semi-final wins 52-0 and 41-6 are a testament to how dominant they have been this season.
At Monday’s championship dinner at the Rose Bowl, with all 28 teams playing for the 11-man championship this weekend, it was a pleasure for the players to take a moment to step onto the Rose Bowl field, themselves to look around the empty seats and have some satisfaction with how far they’ve come. St. John Bosco’s safety Ty Lee, a UCLA conscript, gave three of his teammates a little Rose Bowl tour.
Chargers general manager Tom Telesco was the keynote speaker at the luncheon. He showed off the Super Bowl ring he won with the Indianapolis Colts. “This is beautiful and will be in a safe for the rest of my life,” he said.
Telesco made it clear what he values most: “It’s the memories you have. You will never forget it.”
Over the weekend, more than 5,000 tickets for the Division 1 Finals were sold. St. John Bosco quarterback Pierce Clarkson, who did not play in the second half of Mater Dei’s 17-7 win over the Braves after entering concussion protocol, said he was looking forward to a second chance.
Aidan vs Aidan: In another life, another time, Cypress quarterback Aidan Houston’s favorite receiver was Aidan Chiles, the Aidan-to-Aidan connection that ran wild across Pop Warner’s fields.
“I liked him,” Houston said, smiling.
He might like him a little less between the lines on Friday night when Cypress takes on Downey for the Southern Section Division 4 title. Houston will lead the Centurions against none other than Chile’s former favorite target, now starring behind the Vikings center.
“Man, I just think,” Chiles said Monday, “it was supposed to be fun.”
Both began their high school football careers in Los Alamitos, where freshman Houston and second division Chile side 2020 supported Malachi Nelson. Looking for freer pastures, Chiles switched to Downey after this season, while Houston went to Cypress in mid-2021.
After taking charge of their own programs, they thrived. After a broken wrist ended a promising junior season, Chiles has emerged as one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the state, notching 33 touchdowns and running nine more in his senior season. He pledged to first college, Oregon State, to offer him a scholarship, steadfast in that choice as offers kept pouring in during a senior year banner year.
“To be honest,” Chiles said when asked to think about the injury, “I wouldn’t change a thing.”
Houston, on the other hand, is a gamebreaker himself, a double threat quarterback who can hit multiple touchdowns in the air or on the ground each night. The junior has passed for 2,942 yards and 28 touchdowns and has rushed for 1,106 yards and 19 touchdowns. So the fireworks are coming on Friday night.
Little Brother Stars: Laguna Hills running back Troy Leigber led his team to the Division 9 championship game with 2,133 yards and 37 touchdowns. His brother Mitch is a running back at Stanford.
Turn around: Sierra Canyon dropped out of the Times top-25 rankings after losses last season, but now the Trailblazers are 9-4 and playing for the Division 2 championship. How did the turnaround come about?
“I’m proud of the kids,” said coach Jon Ellinghouse. “They stayed true to our plan. We have always believed in being special. It’s an incredible experience.”
Sophomore running back Dane Dunn has made a name for himself with 1,609 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns.
Feeling relieved: La Cañada St. Francis coach Dean Herrington had good news to share about his brother Rick, head coach at Newhall Hart. Rick suffered a heart attack while playing golf last Friday. He underwent triple bypass surgery at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital. Dean received word that he was out of surgery just before the opening kickoff in the semifinals. “Doctor says it’ll be as good as new,” Dean said.
https://www.latimes.com/sports/highschool/story/2022-11-21/southern-section-football-luncheon-mater-dei-st-john-bosco-rose-bowl Prep football: Everything set for Mater Dei-Bosco at Rose Bowl