Video: Top recruits, St. John Bosco/Centennial
Chuck Petersen and Bruce Rollinson didn't beat Centennial (Corona, Calif.)
and St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.)
this season. Each coached faced both teams, with Petersen facing Centennial twice, and each came out on the losing end like every other coach who stood on the opposite sideline of Matt Logan and Jason Negro.
The coaches of Orange Lutheran (Calif.)
and Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)
should be taken seriously when they talk about how to beat both squads, though, as their teams were closer than anybody else to beating the nation's top two squads.
Orange Lutheran was the only team that St. John Bosco didn't get a running clock on. And the Lancers trailed just 7-6 at halftime of their Trinity League battle before losing 31-12. Petersen's boys also had Centennial locked in a 7-7 tie at halftime earlier this season before losing 35-14, but in the Pac-5 quarterfinals they lost 49-27 after trailing 49-7 in the fourth quarter.
Mater Dei, meanwhile, gave Centennial its closest game of the year, as last week's Pac-5 semifinal turned out to be a 42-36 win for the Huskies. Against St. John Bosco, they were overwhelmed and lost 42-21. It was 42-7 entering the final quarter, with a running clock.
Petersen and Rollinson know what they're talking about. Petersen was once the offensive coordinator at Air Force and spent 17 years coaching there. Rollinson has two national titles and a No. 2 finish at his alma mater, where he has coached one of the nation's elite programs for 27 years. And it should be noted that Orange Lutheran also played De La Salle, so Petersen also has thoughts at the end of this story about what the winner will face in the Open Division championship bowl game in Sacramento, two weeks from Saturday.
Here are some observations from the two about Saturday's huge game:Petersen on St. John Bosco
"Nobody in America had more pressure on them than
because of all the question marks with Josh Rosen leaving and can he handle it. You look at their numbers and they're better than a year ago."
"The first problem is with Sean McGrew
is you have to shut him down to even have a chance. I'm glad he's (graduating), I'm tired of seeing him. Tremendouis player, tremendous competitor. He makes a big difference."
"They have great skill kids, when they get ball on the perimeter it makes it difficult. They're explosive."
"Defensively I think they have a lot of depth up front and they are much bigger than Centennial and they can play more people up front, or at least are more willing. And the four kids in the back half are all D-1 kids."
"If they have a weakness, there's not a whole lot, maybe the fact that they haven't been in a ballgame and had to play 48 total minutes. I guess we are going to find out because I don't think this is a blowout on either end. I don't know if they have a true weakness."Rollinson on both teams
"I'll tell you, it's going to be a high-scoring game. I feel St. John Bosco has a slight edge in the offensive line and that's a big physcial group that is well-coached. Centennial to me is a notch below and I know that their big tackle
was in and out of the game after he tweaked an ankle in the game against us."
"It's by far two of the best running backs that we have faced in a long time. McGrew and J.J. Taylor
, they're a handful. You'd better tackle and you better be prepared to bend but don't break because they're both going to get their share of yardage."
"I think the skill positions are going to give Bosco a slight advantage because I know McKinley tweaked an ankle in our game. He came back in but he looked a little sore. Will he be 100 percent? And I give Bosco an advantage in that area also because they present more offensive formations than Centennial. Bosco can use a tight end, too, whereas Centennial is not going to use the tight end. Bosco has more diversity, which poses problems for your back end."
"I give Centennial the edge at the quarterback position because that kid is a heck of a runner and he can sling it. He's got the fastest release and he's extremely accurate. Bosco's quarterback manages the offense well and passes well but he is not as big of a run threat. He runs enough that you repsect him but he won't break your back running the ball. His release is not as quick but it's close."
"The defenses are very very similar, it's hard to give an advantage to either side. They're both very, very physical up front on the defensive lines. I think Bosco has a little advantage in that their linebacking core was a handful. But with Centennial we had our share of problems with them too, but physicality and size and side-to-side coverage, I am going to give the Bosco linebackers a little advantage."
"The back ends are athletically laden, again I lean more towards Bosco because they really cover well. They lock up in man coverage and they tackle very well in space, which is going to be very important."Petersen on Centennial
"I felt like in the playoff game they were better than when we played
them early, which is scary because they were really good early.
Offensively, they don't have any weaknesses and have a very explosive running back in Taylor and obviously Javon Mckinley
, talk about a weapon on the outside. But they have got three other guys who can make things happen as well. It's
not a pick your poison deal. Somebody is going to hurt you, it's just a matter of who."
"The guy who makes it go is Anthony Catalano
. I love that kid. Tremendous
competitor, operates the offense extremely well. Good decision maker. For
me, it becomes a challenge because you'd like to make them one-dimensional and I don't think you can do that. The scheme is good
because of the splits, so you have to make decisions on how to play the run game. They over-split you up front. Really, they're great."
their defensive guys are solid. It's their best defense, they've made
more improvement defensively since last year and I think they are better
than last year. They
are very good on the back half, very physical. To me the sparkplug and guy to
block is the linebacker Zach Brumbaugh
- he's a heck of a player."
"If they have a weakness, I would say depth. I don't know if they have depth like Bosco and I wonder a little bit about their kicking game. McKinley is a great kick returner but Bosco won't let him touch it. Centennial can sometimes struggle with the kickoff game so I think Bosco can hurt them there."
"They aren't scoring if they are sitting on the bench."
"We didn't finish drives against those teams, in the first half if we had scored touchdowns instead of field goals against Bosco it would be a different game, it was 7-6 and we dominated at times. Same thing against Centennial, so in both cases they're both explosive and you've got to match their scores. You can't trade touchdowns for field goals. You've got to match the score. And when you get one or two behind, it becomes too difficult to get back at them."
"We played De La Salle and I am telling you if they aren't 1 or 2, then there is 1A, 1B and 1C. Eventually one of these guys are going to face (De La Salle)."Rollinson Etc
"They probably better issue asbestos suits because there's going to be a lot of guys grabbing air and flames as the running backs go by. Taylor made my best players miss, McGrew made my best players miss. They're both the keys of this game. If you can contain either one."
"Bosco has the same experience as Centennial. I go back to who wants it the most. Now you're going to have to go for 48 minutes, there will be no running clock."
"I am jealous of those guys, that's why you coach, is to get into a game like this and I am excited for prep fans all over the state, especially this local area. Fans are getting what they wanted. I would be a goofball if I told you I'm not a little interested. I will enjoy this one from the comfort of my home in Tustin."