Although the Mater Dei vs. St. John Bosco high school football rivalry has taken off in the past five seasons, it truly began in 2013 when St. John Bosco junior quarterback Josh Rosen led the Braves to a 34-7 Pac-5 Southern Section championship win over the Monarchs. The rivalry has now exploded with the two teams having met in every Division 1 Southern Section championship game since 2016.
There is always a lot of star power when Mater Dei faces off against St. John Bosco: Both schools have combined to send over 100 players to Division I college football programs in the last decade and even a few into the NFL. Ahead of Friday’s Trinity League clash we took a closer look at the 25 players who have had the biggest impact on the rivalry since 2013:
25. Samuela Tuihalamaka – Mater Dei Defensive Lineman – Class of 2018
Tuihalamaka made six tackles in Mater Dei’s 49-24 Southern Section championship win over St. John Bosco in 2017. He had four tackles in the 2017 regular season meeting between the two teams, a 31-21 Monarchs’ win. Tuihalamaka went on to play college football at Oklahoma State.
24. Tyrel Thomas – St. John Bosco Cornerback – Class of 2017
With 1:49 to go in the third quarter of St. John Bosco’s 2016 Southern Section championship game against Mater Dei, Thomas scored a touchdown on a 40-yard pick six to give the Braves a 35-14 lead. St. John Bosco went on to win 42-21 to give the Braves their second CIF title in four years. Thomas played college football at Montana State.
23. Damien Mama – St. John Bosco Offensive Lineman – Class of 2014
Mama helped pave the way for the Braves’ first Section title in 2013. “Oh, man, all glory goes to God, man,” he told the Press Telegram after the win. “Fourteen weeks of hell pays off. It’s just a great experience, with God’s blessing.”
Mama went on to play at USC.
22. Drake Metcalf – St. John Bosco Offensive Lineman – Class of 2020
Metcalf was the top offensive lineman for the Braves in 2019. He helped keep DJ Uiagalelei protected as St. John Bosco came back from a 28-5 deficit to win 39-34. Metcalf now plays at Stanford.
21. Re-al Mitchell – St. John Bosco Quarterback – Class of 2018
In St. John Bosco’s 42-28 Southern Section championship win over Mater Dei in 2016, Mitchell played exceptionally well rushing for 131 yards and three touchdowns. He was famously benched for then sophomore DJ Uiagalelei as a senior though. The QB competition was detailed in Netflix’s documentary QB1.
20. Jaiden Woodbey – St. John Bosco Safety – Class of 2018
Woodbey had an interception in St. John Bosco’s 42-28 Southern Section championship win over Mater Dei in 2016. He now plays at Boston College.
19. Ma’a Gaoteote – St. John Bosco Linebacker – Class of 2021
Gaoteote was one of the heroes for the Braves in 2019. He had a fourth quarter strip sack on Bryce Young that St. John Bosco recovered to help clinch their victory. Gaoteote transferred to Bishop Gorman for his senior season and now plays at Michigan State.
18. Logan Loya – St. John Bosco Wide Receiver – Class of 2020
Loya only played at St. John Bosco for one season, but he had such a major role in the 2019 Braves’ Southern Section championship win he makes the list. Loya caught two touchdowns in St. John Bosco’s 39-34 come-from-behind win. He’s now a sophomore at UCLA.
17. CJ Williams – Mater Dei Wide Receiver – Class of 2022
Williams is one of two current players to make the list. He was the player of the game in Mater Dei’s 34-17 victory over St. John Bosco in the spring after catching two TDs in the game. In the 2019 Mater Dei Section Section championship defeat, he caught nine passes for 108 yards. Williams is committed to Notre Dame.
16. Nathan Burrell – St. John Bosco Defensive Lineman – Class of 2022
Burrell made one of the plays of the game in St. John Bosco’s come-from-behind 39-34 Southern Section championship win in 2019 when he intercepted Bryce Young to give the Braves a short field. He also recovered a late Monarch fumble. Burrell is committed to Cal.
15. Kris Hutson – St. John Bosco Wide Receiver – Class of 2020
Hutson played a huge role in St. John Bosco’s 39-34 Southern Section championship win in 2019. He intercepted Young on the final play of the game to seal the victory in addition to catching two touchdowns. He now plays receiver at Oregon.
14. Raesjon Davis – Mater Dei Linebacker – Class of 2021
Davis burst onto the scene as a sophomore. He had in interception in Mater Dei’s 17-13 upset over St. John Bosco in the 2018 Southern Section championship game. He also forced a fumble, had six tackles and a sack. In the 2021 regular season spring game, a 34-17 victory for the Monarchs, Davis dropped a Braves running back for a loss on one of the hardest hits of the season. Davis is now a freshman at USC.
13. Elias Ricks – Mater Dei Cornerback – Class of 2020
Ricks had a key interception in Mater Dei’s 17-13 Southern Section championship win over St. John Bosco in 2018. In the 2017 championship game, he made seven tackles in a 49-24 Mater Dei win. Ricks transferred to IMG Academy in Florida to play his senior year and is now enrolled at LSU.
12. TIE: Malik Dorton, Chandler Leniu, Jacob Tuioti-Mariner – St. John Bosco Defensive Ends/Linebackers – Class of 2014
Dorton, Leniu and Tuioti-Mariner anchored a St. John Bosco defense that held Mater Dei’s offense to only 217 yards in their 2013 Section championship win. The Monarchs only scored a special teams TD as St. John Bosco rolled to a 34-7 victory. Dorton went on to play college football at USC, Leniu played at Washington State and Tuioti-Mariner played at UCLA.
11. Tommy Brown – Mater Dei Offensive Lineman – Class of 2018
Brown protected Monarch QB JT Daniels all season long in 2017, the year Mater Dei went 15-0, never trailed in a game, and was named undisputed national champions. Brown now plays at Alabama.
10. Jaleel Wadood – St. John Bosco Wide Receiver and Defensive Back – Class of 2014
Wadood caught two touchdowns in St. John Bosco’s 34-7 Southern Section championship win over Mater Dei in 2013.
“It’s a great feeling to come out here and go 14-0 and win the CIF championship,” Wadood told the Press Telegram after the win. “It’s the greatest feeling in the world.”
He went on to play college football at UCLA.
9. Shakobe Harper – Mater Dei Running Back – Class of 2019
Harper is one of the unsung heroes of the rivalry — all he did was produce during his Mater Dei career.
Harper rushed for two TDs in Mater Dei’s 42-28 Southern Section championship loss to St. John Bosco in 2016, but then bounced back to score two TDs in the 2017 title game, a 49-24 Mater Dei win. He scored another TD a year later in the 2018 championship game, a 17-13 Mater Dei upset. Harper plays college football at Cal Poly.
8. Sean McGrew – St. John Bosco Running Back – Class of 2016
McGrew rushed for 137 yards including a 13-yard TD as a sophomore in St. John Bosco’s 34-7 Southern Section championship win over Mater Dei and as an upperclassman, he continued to make a major mark on the rivalry. In St. John Bosco’s 28-25 regular season win over Mater Dei in 2014, McGrew rushed for 119 yards and a touchdown and in St. John Bosco’s 42-21 regular season win a year later, he rushed for 218 yards and two touchdowns.
McGrew played college football at Washington.
7. Wyatt Davis – St. John Bosco Offensive Lineman – Class of 2017
Davis was named Cal-Hi Sports Mr. Football in 2016 after leading the Braves to a 42-28 victory over Mater Dei in the Southern Section championship game.
“They (offensive line) controlled the line of scrimmage,” St. John Bosco head coach Jason Negro told USA Today after the win. “Wyatt did a great job of playing physical. The results speak for themselves … we ran the heck out of the ball.”
Davis went on to play at Ohio State and then in the NFL with the Minnesota Vikings.
6. Amon-Ra St. Brown – Mater Dei Wide Receiver – Class of 2018
St. Brown stamped his name all over this rivalry. In Mater Dei’s 26-21 regular season win over St. John Bosco in 2016, the receiver returned a punt for a touchdown. In Mater Dei’s 31-21 regular season win a year later, he had 206 receiving yards and two touchdowns. In the 2017 Section championship St. Brown caught a TD pass as well. He went on to play at USC and is now a receiver for the Detroit Lions in the NFL.
5. Bru McCoy – Mater Dei Wide Receiver and Defensive End – Class of 2019
McCoy won Cal-Hi Sports Mr. Football Award in 2018 after leading the Monarchs to Southern Section championships in 2017 and 2018. He caught three touchdowns in the 2017 title game win and one TD in the 2018 triumph.
4. Josh Rosen – St. John Bosco Quarterback – Class of 2015
Rosen and the 2013 St. John Bosco team won the Braves their first ever Southern Section championship, a 34-7 win over Mater Dei, and set the tone for what was expected when suiting up for the Braves in future years. St. John Bosco’s national championship expectations started in 2013 and Rosen served as one of the pillars. He went on to play at UCLA and in the NFL.
3. DJ Uiagalelei – St. John Bosco Quarterback – Class of 2020
Uiagalelei engineered the greatest comeback in Mater Dei vs. St. John Bosco history when he led the Braves back from a 28-5 deficit in the 2019 Southern Section championship game scoring 34 unanswered. Uiagalelei wouldn’t let the Braves lose as he threw for 446 yards and five touchdowns in a 39-34 win. The game came down to the final seconds when a Mater Dei Hail Mary was intercepted. Uiagalelei is now the starting quarterback at Clemson.
2. JT Daniels – Mater Dei Quarterback – Class of 2018
JT Daniels was the star of Mater Dei’s 2017 undefeated national championship team. In the two games against St. John Bosco that season, Daniels threw for 626 yards and seven touchdowns. Daniels graduated a year early from Mater Dei to enroll at USC. He’s now the starting quarterback at Georgia.
1. Bryce Young – Mater Dei Quarterback – Class of 2020
Young gets the nod at No. 1 for two reasons. The first is because Mater Dei head coach Bruce Rollinson called Young the best quarterback in the history of the school when he signed his letter of intent to Alabama. In Young’s four starts against St. John Bosco he went 2-2, but the 2018 Southern Section championship win is the second reason Young is No. 1. He executed the Mater Dei game plan to perfection by bleeding the clock every chance he could get and throwing for one touchdown pass in a 17-13 win. The Monarchs needed a game manager that night and Young played the role exceptionally well. St. John Bosco had beaten Mater Dei 41-18 earlier in the season, so the 2018 championship win was a massive upset for the Monarchs and Young was the star of the show.