Liberty vs St John Bosco


This game between St. John Bosco and Liberty was over before you could say over. It was 21-0 by the start of the second quarter. Liberty would attempt a comeback by scoring a touchdown to cut the lead to 14. Being down by a couple of touchdowns isn’t bad against the second-ranked team in the nation. However, Bosco’s offense and defense overwhelmed one of the top teams in Las Vegas.  Liberty’s quarterback, Kanyon Stoneking, had a couple of fumbles and had to fall on the ball to prevent costly turnovers. That happened on more than occasion.

St. John Bosco was much more settled in, with DJ Uiagalelei, a Clemson commit, having himself a night. He had five total touchdowns and he showed why he’s a top recruit. He was completing accurate passes with wide receivers that were left wide open. The only time he didn’t complete a pass was when his receivers dropped the ball. That happened a couple of times, but by that time the game was already well in hand.

St. John Bosco, with backup quarterback Isaiah Saldana playing later in the game, suffered a crucial blow, as their star running back Jabari Bates (offer from Nevada) lay on the ground for several minutes until an ambulance took him off the field. He landed awkwardly on the turf with his leg bent backward. Head coach Jason Negro said after the game, “I think he’s gonna be okay, it’s just a little dislocation of the ankle, and it popped right back in and then he felt really good afterward, so not overly concerned about that. He’s one of three or four guys we actually play a lot of so it’s unfortunate for him, but he’ll come back stronger and he’s only a sophomore so we’ll be alright.”

As far as the rest of the game went, Liberty tried to march down the field, picking up one or two first downs on fourth down. However, they could not come back from their deficit, wound up losing 49-7, and looked very overwhelmed in the process. Running back Edward Gastelum looked good for the Patriots, having caused a few missed tackles and running like a guy who was fighting until the end, as did Liberty quarterback, Daniel Britt, who kept a hand-off and scampered in for a Liberty’s only touchdown on a seven-yard score. Other than that, Bosco showed why they are the powerhouse they are. Bosco, located in Bellflower, California, is known for producing some great high school football.

Bosco is the top-ranked team in California as of September 7th, 2019 and in order to have the sustained success and keep this ranking up, St. John Bosco Head Football Coach, Jason Negro said you have to have buy-in from everyone, “You have to have a lot of buy-in, you have to have buy-in by your administration, by your staff… we’re a very consistent program with very little turnover in staff and the kids that we continue to get have raised the bar with them each and every year to try and get them better and better and better. They continue to just exceed our expectations and if you’re really consistent with what you’re doing, you’re gonna be successful. That’s what we’ve been able to accomplish.”

When asked about his thoughts on the game, Coach Negro said, “I think first and foremost we were so efficient on offense. You know, for DJ’s stat-line to be 6-9, 290 yards, and 5 touchdowns, that’s pretty impressive. To be able to have a running clock and to come out here and play against a really good team is kind of an accomplishment for us and we’re proud of the effort of our guys tonight.”

This game was also played as part of the Polynesian Classic, a showcase meant to commemorate Polynesian football players. This showcase is meant to put top teams together to play each other on one gridiron. Football being a huge part of the culture, both teams have a lot of Polynesian players on their rosters. Coach Negro said it is an honor to play in it. “It’s just an honor. We have a lot of Polynesian kids on our team and we take a lot of pride in having these kids and understanding what their culture is and fitting the culture we have at St. John Bosco. So for the Polynesian Committee to invite us to come to play here it means a lot to me and my program and our entire school community. So, hats off to them and we thank them and, hopefully, we gave them a good show.”

Follow Kalin Sokell on Twitter @2WinKalin