St. John Bosco hangs on to beat Mater Dei

BELLFLOWER – Win and move on is exactly what the Bosco Braves did last Friday when they hung on to knock off the Monarchs 28-25 in the Trinity League opener for both teams. It wasn’t pretty at times, but getting a win in the Trinity Football League, especially against Mater Dei, is more about survival than how you look getting the victory.

Aided by three crucial fumbles by Mater Dei and some timely third down conversations by the Braves offense, Bosco was able to overcome their own mistakes on this evening and hand the Monarchs their first defeat of the year.

For like most of this season it’s been the same song and dance for Bosco. The offense starts off slow; the defense keeps them close until quarterback Josh Rosen and his offensive unit starts to put scoring drives together.

On this evening the theme for the Braves defense turned into “bend, but don’t break.” After a quick three and out for Bosco’s opening possession of the game Mater Dei marched down inside Bosco’s ten yard line, to the Brave’s nine. From there the Bosco defense tightened, forcing the Monarch’s into a 22-yard field goal attempt that missed wide right.

The contest remained scoreless until late in the first quarter when the Monarch’s Elias Deeb connected on a 32-yard field goal to put the visiting team in front 3-0.

Bosco responded on their next possession putting together a long drive, keyed by a couple third down conversions, then capped by Rosen’s 2-yard rushing touchdown to give Bosco the 7-3 lead.

The lead was short lived, because the Monarchs took the ensuing kick-off and went 80-yards in four plays to recapture the lead 10-7 on Brandon LaMarche’s 4-yard blast into the end zone.

The back and forth affair didn’t end there. Bosco didn’t blink and were able to put together a balanced run and pass drive that resulted in a terrific throw and catch from Rosen to Kaylin Franklin for a three-yard TD. The senior wideout finished the night with six catches for 139 yards and the one TD.

It was Mater Dei’s offense turn next, but a costly fumble by quarterback Jack Lowary deep in Bosco territory stalled their drive. The fumble, recovered by Leti Epenesa, allowed the Braves to turn that turnover into points. Once again a key third down conversion kept the Bosco scoring drive alive. Bosco running back Sean McGrew took a handoff on a draw play and scampered 40 yards down to the Mater Dei 14 yard line. A few plays later McGrew punched it in from seven yards out, giving Bosco the 21-10 lead with only 45 seconds left in the half. McGrew’s 119 yards rushing on the night lead all runners and was the first 100+ rusher Mater Dei had allowed all year.

The momentum Bosco took into the lockeroom at halftime quickly moved to the Monarch’s side in the third quarter.

Mater Dei’s offense balanced out, going to the running game more behind their massive offensive line and the defense was doing their part to keep Rosen and McGrew in check.

With just over three minutes left in the third quarter Mater Dei punctuated an impressive drive with Noah Delgadillo’s 11-yard rushing TD. After Lowary connected with tight end Kyle Penniston for the 2-point conversion the Bosco lead was down to three, 21-18. Lowary tossed for 343 yards and Penniston had 121 receiving yards on seven catches.

Once again Bosco was unable to move the ball after the ensuing kick-off and was forced to punt the ball back to the Monarchs, giving them excellent field position.

Having the Braves defense on their heels, Lowary and company continued to drive the field and find their rhythm as the third quarter came to an end.

In a bizarre display of not being on the same page, Mater Dei called two timeouts in the span of three plays and had a 5-yard motion penalty, but still found themselves poised to take the lead starting the fourth quarter.

With Mater Dei knocking on the door, the Braves needed someone to step up and make a play. That someone turned out to be Traveon Bell. After defensive end Jacob Callier knocked the ball away from a scrambling Lowary, Bell scooped up the fumble and went untouched for the 71-yard defensive touchdown that pushed the Bosco lead to ten, 28-18 early in the fourth.

Down, but not out the Monarch’s took advantage of a Bosco miscue when a bad snap allowed Mater Dei’s Jalen Cole to return a blocked punt by teammate Jed Smith. The score cut the Bosco lead down to 28-25 with just under five minutes left in the game.

Stifled for much of the second half the Bosco offense was able to move the ball past midfield and eat up some of the clock, but a holding call and a dropped pass (one of five Bosco receivers had on the night) helped turn the ball back over to Mater Dei’s offense.

Starting the drive from his 23-yard line with 2:20 left in regulation, Lowary quickly connected with his favorite target, Penniston to start the drive. Picking up yards in chunks the Monarch’s drove to the Bosco 39-yard line and with 1:49 left to play had plenty of time to try and move closer for a tying field goal attempt or keep driving for a go ahead touchdown.

However, with the help from some moisture in the evening air Mater Dei’s Lowary went back to pass and when flushed out of the pocket the football simply slipped out of his hand and recovered by Bosco to seal the game 28-25 for the Braves.

The first loss of the year for Mater Dei (5-1, 0-1) is even more painful because it has them looking up at Bosco in the Trinity League standings once again. For the Braves they improve to (5-1, 1-0).

No time to rest for either of these teams. Mater Dei takes on Servite this Friday, 10/19 at Cerritos College and Bosco travels to south Orange County to play JSerra. The game will be played at Orange Coast College.



Published: Oct. 16, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 27