The first major, national preseason poll for high school football has weighed in on the Mater Dei-St. John Bosco rivalry, and the Monarchs are the underdogs in 2017 … at least at the start.
St. John Bosco recently secured the No. 1 spot in the preseason poll by High School Football America, just ahead of No. 2 Mater Dei.
The poll’s release notes that Mater Dei returns 10 of 11 starters on offense but comments that St. John Bosco also has several returners and is scheduled to make cross-country trips to play teams ranked in the HSFA Top 100. The Braves take on No. 14 St. Thomas Aquinas of Florida (Aug. 25) and No. 31 St. John’s College of Washington, D.C. (Sept. 23).
Mater Dei plays No. 4 Bishop Gorman of Nevada (Sept. 1) and No. 15 Bergen Catholic of New Jersey (Sept. 16) at Santa Ana Stadium.
“First, according to our algorithm, these teams are really neck-and-neck,” said Jeff Ficher, editor-in-chief of High School Football America. “The biggest difference, which always occurs in the preseason poll, is Bosco’s strength of schedule is a hair better.”
Mater Dei and St. John Bosco split their games last season but the Braves won the one that mattered most: the CIF-SS Division 1 final. The Braves rolled to a 48-21 victory at Angel Stadium. Mater Dei won the teams’ showdown for the Trinity League title, 26-21.
The teams clash at a new venue this season for their Trinity League game: Oct. 13 at El Camino College in Torrance.
“The big question is,” Fisher added, “what happens when they actually play.”
Other California teams ranked in the HSFA Top 100 were: 10. Centennial Corona, 21. De La Salle of Concord, 28. Narbonne, No. 47 Mission Viejo, No. 54 Long Beach Poly, No. 77 Serra of Gardena and No, 95 Chaminade.
Mater Dei and wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown are ranked second to rival St. John Bosco in the High School Football America Preseason Poll.