On Jan. 27, the ninth annual MaxPreps Football Tour of Champions presented by the National Guard brought us to Bellflower, Calif., home of the
St. John Bosco
High School Braves.
Coming off of a promising 2012 season, St. John Bosco became the team to beat in Southern California early on in the 2013 season. One game after the other, coach Jason Negro and the Braves football team tallied victory after victory. Wondering how long they would be able to keep up their undefeated season, the team prepared one week at a time, convinced that a perfect season was attainable as long as they kept their focus on their own "tightly-knit" team family.
Finishing 16-0, St. John Bosco capped off an already successful season by defeating De La Salle High School for the State Championship at the Stub Hub Center in Carson, Calif. Their state title propelled them to the top of the MaxPreps National Ranking, making them No. 1 in the nation. This was truly a season to remember.
On Monday morning at 9:30 a.m., we arrived at the gates of the beautiful campus of St. John Bosco. Administrators and staff were already prepared for the day's festivities and welcomed MaxPreps and the California Army National Guard into the gymnasium. The Tour of Champions banners were in place and set to go. Media from Channel 7 NBC, Long Beach Press Telegram, and Long Beach Register were in attendance to cover the event. St. John Bosco, a historic all-boys Catholic School, boasted banner after banner atop the gymnasium rafters.
By 11:30 a.m., the SJB football team, band members, and cheerleading squad from sister school St. Joseph's High School flooded in. Parents and alumni began to celebrate the much-anticipated recognition by MaxPreps and California ANG.
Then, student-body president Matt Herrera welcomed the audience. There was an opening prayer by Father Joe. Then principal, Mr. Yeazel welcomed faculty, alumni and guests. It was then turned over to MaxPreps representative, Josh Canales, to quarterback the remainder of the ceremony.
Canales recognized the team for its achievements and got the crowd involved with a chant. He then introduced Staff Sergeant Zuniga of the California Army National Guard to present the Army National Guard national ranking trophy to coach Negro and the SJB Braves football team. While Coach Negro was still on stage, we also presented him with the MaxPreps National Coach of the Year award. Leland Gordon presented on behalf of MaxPreps. Coach gave his acceptance speech, addressing the family environment and the focus his team maintained all season long.
During the ceremony, the school also unveiled their CIF PAC-5 Championship banner, State Championship Banner, and National Championship banner. The school was tremendously proud and excited to own these titles. Congratulations to St. John Bosco on a very successful season and top national ranking!