Santa Ana (California) Mater Dei will host Bellflower (CA) St. John Bosco this Friday in what easily became the best high school football rivalry in the country.

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The Braves and Monarchs meeting as the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country is becoming quite common, but still causing a lot of buzz. The fact that the two teams will most likely meet again in the CIF final at the end of November is fairly well received, but did not dampen the enthusiasm for it, and tickets sold out in less than five minutes after going on sale.

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It’s a great rivalry and the two teams are always roughly equal across the board. The two teams have met twice since 2016, once in the league, the other in the CIF final, every year except 2020, when the Covid spring season was just five games, and last year, when Servite upset the Braves in the semi-finals. .

Bosco beat Mater Dei in the ’16 and ’19 finals, and Mater Dei returned the favor in ’17 and ’18, with the ’17 Monarch team being the only one to win both the league match and the final. So, I’m mentioning all this to say that whoever wins on Friday doesn’t necessarily mean he can win the rematch when it really matters.

We’ll be looking at this game position by position throughout the week, starting with the quarterbacks. Today we look at running backs.

Mater Dei

Elijah Brown is the boyfriend for Mater Dei and has a 23 win streak to his credit. Not only has he won 23 straight games, he is 23-0 and has started every game since his first season.

When you talk about Brown, the first thing that comes to mind is his poise and polish. We’ve talked about this before, but his calmness in his pocket, ability to take clutch shots in tight situations and never look jumpy or flustered, no matter how important the moment, always reminded us of former Monarch and current Alabama QB Bryce Young. .

As a sophomore, Brown threw for 2,581 yards and 30 touchdowns, completing 74% of his passes, to lead Mater Dei to a 12-0 record and a CIF, state, and national championship. He doesn’t run much but is very capable of buying time, prolonging the game and either shooting down the field or running for first downs when needed.

In six games this year, Brown threw for 1,376 yards and 17 touchdowns and completed 69% of his shots. Mater Dei is introducing a brand new receiver team, but Brown looks very confident and has taken on a bigger leadership role this season.

He led a comeback in the 4th quarter against the nation’s top 10 Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas, Nevada, and showed off his trademark resilience by throwing a few shots early in the game without ever flinching.

Brown is currently ranked 56th in the country on the 247Sports Composite and 41st on the Top247. He has scholarship offers from schools such as Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Ole Miss, Stanford, Tennessee, UCLA, USC, Utah, and Washington. several.

Saint John Bosco

First time in three seasons Piers Clarkson must not share position with anyone else. In his sophomore and junior years, Clarkson shared representatives with current Michigan State freshman. Katin Hauser.

Both played well, but we also felt that it must be difficult to get into any real rhythm when you play any other series. Ironically, Clarkson has only averaged three pass attempts per game this season due to breakouts and rarely plays in the second half.

As a junior, he threw for 1,416 yards and 16 touchdowns, completing 60% of his passes. He also rushed for 254 yards and threw for four touchdowns. In six games this year, Clarkson has thrown for 904 yards and 13 touchdowns, completed 59% of his passes, and also rushed for another 195 yards and scored two more goals.

Clarkson is a true double threat quarterback who is just as dangerous with his arm as he is with his legs. We’ve talked about this before, but he looks almost more comfortable when the pocket breaks and he has to improvise the way he does when he has a clean pocket and shoots on time.

He is a very tough guy who will snap and run at any moment, and when he runs, he looks more like a running back than a quarterback. He has a strong hand and has been hard at work over the last year on improving his accuracy and timing.

His confidence and belief in himself may be his best qualities, and he is someone who lives for playing on the big stage.

As with Brown, a moment is never too big for Clarkson and we know he’s relishing the opportunity to be the guy to take down Mater Dei for the first time since 2019. The Louisville Commit has already had an unforgettable year, having been invited to the Elite 11 Finals, the All-American Bowl and the Polynesian Bowl. He now leads the nation’s No. 1 team through MaxPreps and a win over the Monarchs will only cement his legacy at Bosco.