St. John Bosco celebrates state title

BELLFLOWER - The St. John Bosco Braves celebrated a sports milestone last Monday - a ceremony to commemorate the high school's first football state title in its history.

A crowd of football players, students, staff, family members and community supporters gathered at the school's gymnasium to hear speeches from school administrators, a representative from MaxPreps (an online high school sports website owned by CBS Interactive), and football coach Jason Negro for the annual MaxPreps Tour of Champions. MaxPreps also bestowed a No. 1 National Ranking trophy to the Bellflower high school.

St. John Bosco was ranked highest by the MaxPreps Freeman Rankings. The computer ranking system takes into account game results, quality of wins against opponents, and strength of schedule to determine the rankings of high school football programs.

"You have started a legacy. We will not disappoint you," said Paul Escala, president of the high school. A Division I CIF Championship banner, CIF state championship banner and national title banner, and a No. 1 rankings banner courtesy of MaxPreps, were all unveiled during the ceremony. Coach Negro was also awarded the national high school football Coach of the Year award by MaxPreps.

Negro, who coached the Braves to an undefeated season of 16-0 including an Open Division state championship against Concord's De La Salle High School with a 20-14 victory, said the team's cohesiveness led them all to victory.

"[It was an] incredibly long journey for the kids to stay focused as long as they did. The fact is [we were] able to stay focused and stay healthy," he said.

Although Negro said the team will have big shoes to fill next year, he is confident in the ability of his returning players.

"Anything is possible with these talented individuals," Negro said.

Shay Fields, a senior wide receiver, said the experience was a great one.

"It's a humbling feeling - a great experience overall with the coaches and players," Fields said.

********** Published: Feb. 6, 2014 - Volume 12 - Issue 43