With three of the final four teams in the California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section Div. 1 playoffs all ranked in the USA TODAY Super 25 top-11, one of the two games was bound to be a dog fight. Suffice to say that the tussle between No. 7 Centennial (Corona) and No. 11 St. John Bosco (Bellflower) lived up to the expectations, including the wild, 49-47 Braves victory that brought Centennial’s season to a slightly premature end.
In a see-saw game that saw Centennial jump out to a 14-0 lead only for St. John Bosco to rally, tie and then set off a string of lead changes between the two powerhouses. Consider the fourth quarter sways on their own merit, as relayed by the Los Angeles Times’ Eric Sondheimer:
In the end, there were six lead changes in the fourth quarter alone … and there was almost a seventh until one of the defenses finally made a stop, with St. John Bosco stuffing Miles Reed on a fourth down play at its own 43 with 2:27 remaining. That may have been the game’s most decisive moment, with Bosco responding with a first down after taking control, then running the clock out once Centennial was out of timeouts.
For St. John Bosco, the win was more than just a ticket for possible revenge against No. 2 Mater Dei, which served up one of the Braves’ two losses on the season (No. 1 Bishop Gorman provided the other). It also served as the school’s way to avenge its own recent playoff failures against Centennial; the two famed programs have now met in the postseason of the four most recent seasons, with Centennial emerging victorious in 2014 and 2015. In fact, the last time that the Braves advanced in a game against Centennial, they wore all black uniforms, just as they did Friday night.
Simple sartorial splendor or something deeper? It may be too early to know, though one would sure think the Braves won’t want to mess with success for their rematch with the Monarchs.