St. John Bosco vs. Mater Dei is the high school football game of the year.
Or is it?
Friday’s 7:30 p.m. game at Santa Ana Stadium will have the best concentration of players on a high school football field in California. Maybe in the country. One report states that 76 NCAA Division I college football candidates will wear uniforms.
The coaching staff at both schools is outstanding, probably good enough to run a college football program successfully.
Bally Sports will televise the game nationally. Negotiations took place, now ended, that the game would have taken place at SoFi Stadium, home of the NFL’s Chargers and Rams. As expected, around 10,000 tickets for Bosco-Mater Dei were gone just a few minutes after sales started on Monday morning.
It will be a great and fun game. And if you consider that this game, in which the top two teams in the national rankings meet, takes place between two schools that are 25 miles apart and play in the same league, the Trinity League.
Is this all too big and too much for high school football?
It’s good to remember that the huge interest in this game is not a new phenomenon. High school football has always been a big deal here.
The Anaheim vs. Downey game for a CIF Southern Section championship game in 1956 officially drew a crowd of 41,383 to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Some say another 20,000 were admitted free when all the printed tickets were sold. When the stars of that game, running backs Anaheim’s Mickey Flynn and Downey’s Randy Meadows, came together in the same backfield at the Shrine Game, a crowd of 85,931 showed up at the Coliseum.
This wasn’t the first year high school football had been played at the Coliseum. The first of many CIF championship games played there took place in 1923.
A semifinal match between Anaheim and Mater Dei CIF-SS at Anaheim Stadium in 1966 earned 33,374. Two Mater Dei games in the 1990s, one against Eisenhower and the other against Los Alamitos, drew more than 30,000 spectators to the stadium. Edison-Fountain Valley games have been big draws for many years, as have Capistrano Valley-El Toro games and other rivalry games, and when Servite has a championship contender, a Mater Dei Servite game is a tough ticket.
These matchups, particularly those in the public schools, despite intense extracurricular shenanigans, like ping-pong balls with “Beat…” dropped from a helicopter onto a competing school’s campus, were more picturesque and community-focused than this St. John Bosco vs. Mater Dei- Game.
St. John Bosco and Mater Dei have directors for football operations. The Mater Dei football team’s websites list a chief of staff and a director of player staff.
There will be a media check-in at Friday’s game. The last time you actually went through a media check-in was the Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium last February. Authors from national publications will be in the press box.
This environment may seem overkill for teenage children playing a game.
Trust me after years of covering these games – these kids will still act like kids.
When Alabama’s Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Bryce Young was the quarterback at Mater Dei, he thoughtfully answered questions during a postgame interview, said the right things, and when the interview was over, turned and walked back to his teammates and started bouncing and down with them like, well, like a kid.
Were these children recruited to play football at Mater Dei and St. John Bosco? That’s always hard to pin down. Do Mater Dei and St. John Bosco have to risk being slammed by interference or pre-enrolment contact injury, or will the success of their sports programs and the media attention that comes with them (guilty as well as accused) do all the recruiting for them?
If you’re the parent of a six-foot-tall seventh-grader who walks like Usain Bolt and can throw a football 200 yards, you probably already know that Mater Dei is good at sports.
Mater Dei and St. John Bosco are transfer destinations for high-profile athletes who believe they can get enough playing time to improve their college recruiting profile. College is expensive and scholarships are valuable. Athletic students don’t have to go to big schools to make it to pro sports — Oniel Cousins, who played 8-man football at Eastside Christian in Fullerton, spent seven years in the NFL — but there’s news that 76 has college prospects In one game there is free advertising for St. John Bosco and Mater Dei.
The Name, Picture, and Likeness (NIL) opportunities found in California high school athletics are not available in most other states, and that makes Mater Dei and St. John Bosco even more appealing. Los Alamitos junior defensive end TA Cunningham joined from Georgia in large part because of ZERO opportunities. Expect Mater Dei and St John Bosco football programs to receive transfers abroad motivated by making some money through NIL deals.
If this St. John Bosco-Mater Dei game isn’t your idea of high school sports but you want more of the community-based competition of high school sports, there are plenty of options for this Friday night.
Head to Fred Kelly Stadium at El Modena High to see Canyon vs. Villa Park, where an up-and-coming and entertaining passing Canyon team will attempt to beat proud Villa Park for the first time since 2008.
Fountain Valley plays Huntington Beach at Huntington Beach High. Both are 0-1 in the Sunset League, neither team wants to go 2-0 and this game could be the best chance for either team to win a league game this year.
The city of Irvine will host two inner-city games on Friday, Woodbridge vs. Irvine and Northwood vs. University.
St. John Bosco vs. Mater Dei is a huge game. It is going to be great. The players, coaches and everyone involved worked hard to make it a national-level spectacle.
Game of the year? Maybe. Or maybe that’s happening somewhere else.
https://www.ocregister.com/2022/10/06/fryer-st-john-bosco-vs-mater-dei-football-too-big-for-some-just-right-for-others/ St. John Bosco vs. Mater Dei Football Too Big For Some, Just Right For Others – Orange County Register