Video: No. 1 St. John Bosco vs. No. 2 Corona Centennial
According to MaxPreps records, this is the sixth matchup of the top two ranked high school football teams in the country since the turn of the century.
I've been lucky enough to cover the previous five and plan to be at the sixth on Saturday, when top-ranked St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.)
takes on No. 2 Centennial (Corona)
for the Southern Section Pac-5 Division
championship at Angel Stadium in Anaheim.
The winner will most certainly be selected as the Southern California representative in the state's Open Division final and will likely face perennial national power De La Salle (Concord), currently ranked No. 9.
The loser on Saturday is done. Both teams are 13-0.
What sets this No. 1 versus No. 2 match-up distinctly apart from the previous five is that it is so late in the season — almost two months later than the others — and it's a do-or-die game.
The previous five were more showcase games — this truly means something. And it comes at the end of the nation's toughest football bracket
From a strictly aesthetic angle, this one is almost guaranteed to be an offensive bonanza. St. John Bosco is averaging 59.5 points per game and Centennial 56.1. The offensive comparisons are off the charts, with both teams averaging more than 500 yards per game — SJB at 554 and Centennial at 515.
The crazy part is that both teams are utterly balanced, so there's no loading the boxes and running largely nickel packages. Centennial averages 263 yards passing and 252 running; Bosco 281 and 273. That's truly remarkable.
Good luck defensive coordinators.
Many are anticipating the remarkable 2013 Southern Section Open Division final result, a 70-49 Bosco win over Centennial in a game that featured 1,401 yards. Running back Sean McGrew
, then a sophomore and now a senior at St. John Bosco, rushed for 367 yards and seven touchdowns.
Only one of the other five Prep Super Bowls — something we tabbed them — was a real offensive showcase: St. Thomas Aquinas defeating Byrnes 42-34. Byrnes actually out-gained STA 558-303 in the loss.
Of those five games (10 teams), four were from California (actually two — Long Beach Poly and De La Salle twice), four from Florida and one each from Texas and South Carolina.
Here are the other No. 1 vs. No. 2 games since 2000:Prep Super Bowl I
Oct. 6, 2001, Long Beach City College, Long Beach (Calif.)
De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) 29, Long Beach Poly (Calif.) 15
Who could remember anything else? De La Salle’s Maurice Jones-Drew somersaulting into the end zone, the
first of four touchdowns he scored in a breakout performance. Poly, one of the most talented high school teams ever with five future NFL players and 15 FBS players, was shell-shocked. Prep Super Bowl II
Oct. 12, 2002, Cal-Berkeley, Berkeley (Calif.)
De La Salle 28, Long Beach Poly 7
The far-away dreamy look of De La Salle quarterback Britt Cecil, an
absolute afterthought going into the star-studded game, turned out to
be the star by going 12-of-17 for 237 yards and three touchdowns.
He also rushed for a score and a 2-point conversion.
"I'll probably go to bed tonight and just cry," Cecil said that day. "I mean that, I'll probably cry. No one knows how good this feels right now. I can't describe it."
Neil Hayes, author of "When the Game Stands Tall," a book on the
history of the De La Salle program that was adapted into a motion
picture, said the De La Salle wins against Poly probably rank as the program's best.
"Considering De La Salle was in the middle of its
(151-game) win streak at that point and that Poly had sent more athletes
to the NFL than any program in America, everyone was watching those two
matchups," said Hayes who recently released a second book with former
De La Salle head coach Bob Ladouceur, "Chasing Perfection."Prep Super Bowl IIISept. 15, 2007, Southern Methodist University, DallasNorthwestern (Miami) 29, Southlake Carroll (Texas) 21
Another far-away stare, this one from defensive stud Marcus Forston,
who looked into the warm Texas night long after Northwestern broke
Carroll’s 49-game win streak before 31,896 fans in Dallas and a national
His team held high-powered Carroll scoreless in the second half while
Jacory Harris completed 21-of-28 for 280 yards and four touchdowns.
(Harris and Forston went on University of
Forston was reflective because his team’s previous coaching staff was
fired a couple months earlier in a controversial decision.
"We practiced for a week without a coach," Forston said
. "What team anywhere would practice without a coach?
"I knew then this was a special group. I could see it in their eyes."
Prep Super Bowl IVOct. 2, 2009, Lockhart Stadium, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.)St. Thomas Aquinas 42, Byrnes 34
hour before the game the two teams and coaching staffs jawed at
midfield, setting the tone for the most entertaining of the previous
This one had it all, including celebrity sightings,
electrifying runs, bonehead mistakes, heroes, goats, comebacks, trick
plays, fake punts, pin-point passes, speed demons, hellacious hits, 861
yards, a 93-yard kickoff return, a blocked field goal, a fumble return
for touchdown, gobs of Division I talent, numerous Division I college
coaches, and speed, speed and more speed.
Jacob Rudick threw for four touchdowns, including a 52-yard beauty to
Lamarcus Joyner, who later put the game away with a 93-yard kickoff
"I felt a little disrespected that they would kick to me in that
situation," said Joyner, who starred at Florida State before being drafted in the second round by the St. Louis Rams. "We call that an automatic six when
Lamarcus Joyner is back on the return."
There was a lot of talk and kids backing it up in this game. In a
losing effort, Chas Dodd threw for 416 yards and three touchdowns and
Byrnes actually out-gained STA 558 to 303. Turnovers did in Byrnes and
the chief culprit, of all people, was its unquestioned star and leader
Marcus Lattimore, who fumbled four times, twice in the red zone.
also rushed for 118 yards, had 94 more receiving and scored two
touchdowns. But afterward he was inconsolable. There was a lot of
emotion in this one.
"That's the first dog fight St. Thomas has
been in for a long time," Joyner said. "This just showed the world that
we're No. 1. It feels great."
Said Dodd: "It was a great high school football game. I'm sure people
got their money's worth."Prep Super Bowl VSept. 6, 2013, Traz Powell Stadium, Miami (Fla.)Booker T. Washington 28, Central (Miami) 17
junior linebacker Terry Jefferson
weaved his way down field in the waning moments of his team’s national showdown with crosstown rival Central (Miami)
, his head coach Tim "Ice" Harris was anything but cool.
racing down the sideline parallel to Jefferson, was pleading with his
5-foot-9, 170-pound linebacker to fall on the ground to preserve an
excruciatingly hard-earned win.
Finally, seeing there was no
quit in the diminutive but talented third-year starter — yes Jefferson
started as a freshman — Harris relented. Jefferson did not stop,
completing a 65-yard interception return with 9.9 seconds remaining to
put a cherry on top of this as-good-as-advertised 28-17 Washington
victory before 8,000 exhausted and sweaty South Florida fans at steamy
Traz Powell Stadium.See photos of first four Super High School Bowls