It’s somewhat rare to see a 7-6 score when it comes to 7-on-7 football, but the rivalry between Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) and St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) never takes a break.
Mater Dei, playing without its top offensive players in quarterback JT Daniels (pictured above) and wide receiver Amon-ra St. Brown, won the annual Battle at the Beach 7v7 passing tournament at Edison (Huntington Beach, Calif.). Mater Dei also won last year’s event.
According to The Los Angeles Times, Daniels was resting a sore arm and St. Brown had a sprained finger. Daniels served as the team’s offensive coordinator because he calls his own plays during the season.
The title game was clinched by an interception by Elias Ricks.
Mater Dei turned the offense in the semifinals and final to Carter Freedland, who went 10-0 as the quarterback for the school’s freshman team last fall. Mater Dei needed overtime to beat Paraclete, led by quarterback Brevin White, in the semifinals.
“Our coaches do a great job of getting us prepared to go in the game at any time,” Freedland said. “I didn’t know JT wasn’t going play until (the day of the tournament), and I was fortunate enough to get the nod to go in.”
While St. John Bosco advanced behind its defense that featured seven defensive backs with FBS offers, Mater Dei struggled early in the event, going 2-2 in pool play. Bosco was 3-1.
“I think as the day progressed we became more and more confident, which led us to the championship, and then on to win the championship,” Freedland said. “It was a great all-around team effort.”
While 7-on-7 events don’t mean much, Mater Dei will take the victory, especially three weeks before practice. And beating St. John Bosco, the defending state Open Division champions and fellow Trinity League rival, isn’t bad, either.
“I think that a tournament win like this gives us a lot of confidence before we get back to practice,” Freedman said. “I think that it has brought us closer as a team.”
Charter Oak (Covina) won the consolation final with a 22-20 victory against Bishop Amat (La Puente). Isaiah Hamilton locked up the victory with an interception on what could have been a game-winning drive for Amat.