For a moment it actually felt like USA TODAY Super 25 No. 10 Centennial got its groove back.
Trailing 27-0 at halftime, the Corona squad rallied without its starting quarterback to claw within 27-20 in the third quarter of Friday night’s California Interscholastic Federation sectional semifinals against No. 14 St. John Bosco.
Then, just when it looked like the Huskies might have something magic up their sleeves, the Braves re-took control, rattling off a pair of touchdowns to extend back to a 48-20 lead and then playing out the string for the remainder of a 62-34 victory.
That Centennial came that close without star quarterback Tanner McKee was an accomplishment in itself. McKee, a four-star Army All-American quarterback, missed Friday’s game while in concussion protocol. The loss brought an end to a brilliant career that is likely to segue into a Mormon mission before he heads to college, while also bringing team chemistry problems for Centennial; the Braves finished with a whopping four interceptions.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei was the leader for Bosco, piloting the Braves through choppy patches and taking control of the game as Bosco surged. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound sophomore passed for two touchdowns and ran for three in a thoroughly dominant performance against one of the state’s best defenses.
Uiagalelei is rapidly emerging as one of the top passing prospects in the Class of 2018. Games like Friday night’s will further enhance his comfort in the spotlight and ability to deliver for the Braves when they need it most.
He did plenty of that on Friday. The next time he gets a chance to, a sectional title will be on the line.