Trailing 43-36, Centennial senior running back Cornell Hatcher Jr.
scored his fifth touchdown of the game with eight seconds left. Down 43-42, the Huskies went for two and didn't convert as Bosco's Jordan Lockhart
made a stop in the backfield.
The win means that St. John Bosco will face No. 5 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)
in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 championship game. This will be the fifth time in the last six years that St. John Bosco and Mater Dei will battle for the section title with a trip to the Open Division state championship game on the line.
Mater Dei defeated No. 21 Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.)
42-14 in the other semifinal.
Since 2017, the winner of the Southern Section Division 1 championship has been named MaxPreps National Champion four times, with head coach Jason Negro and St. John Bosco finishing No. 1 last season.
This will be the second time this season that Bosco (11-1) and Mater Dei (11-1) have played. In the first matchup, Bosco won 28-0 behind a strong performance from the defense and senior quarterback Caleb Sanchez
Tonight Sanchez had six touchdowns, including four in the first half. Two of those touchdown passes were caught by senior Stacy Dobbins
for 62 and 73 yards. In the fourth quarter Dobbins came up big again, catching a pass on a two-point conversion to tie the game 36-36.
Centennial had a chance to take the lead but turned the ball over on downs near midfield with under five minutes to play. The Braves converted a long third down on the ensuing possession before Sanchez fired his sixth touchdown pass of the game, this time to Tommy Maher
to take a 43-36 lead with 3:29 left.
That was enough time for Centennial junior quarterback Husan Longstreet
, who led the Huskies on their sixth touchdown drive of the game. Hatcher, who had already scored four rushing touchdowns, got into the end zone for a fifth time to make the game 43-42 with eight seconds.
As they did after the previous touchdown, the Huskies came up short on the two-point try.
In a loss that ends his Centennial career, Hatcher, went over 4,000 career rushing yards while pushing his career touchdown total to 74.
In Santa Ana, Mater Dei jumped out to a 14-0 first quarter lead on a pair of touchdown runs by senior Ajon Bryant
. Sierra Canyon junior Dane Dunn
then cut the lead in half on a rushing score. The Monarchs pulled away in the second quarter as junior Jordon Davison
rushed for a touchdown and senior Elijah Brown
hit junior Marcus Harris
for a 15-yard score to make it 28-7 just before the halftime buzzer sounded.
This will be the sixth time in Brown's career that he is taking on St. John Bosco. He won his first three battles as a freshman and a sophomore but he has faltered in the last two, which includes the section championship game last season. In those five games he has 957 passing yards and 11 touchdown passes without an interception.