Sunny Hills football sheds stereotypes, captures CIF title with neighborhood kids

FULLERTON A small group of Sunny Hills players stayed after practice this week to toss the football around and joke with each other until darkness nearly covered their field.

The players seemed to soak up each precious minute, recognizing the time and place were indeed special.

Sunny Hills’ once-struggling football program actually held practices this week as a reigning CIF-SS champion.

“Nothing better than this,” senior quarterback and captain Luke Duxbury said.

Sunny Hills (12-2) will load into a bus Saturday morning and head north for a showdown in the CIF State SoCal Division 3-A regionals at Bakersfield Christian (10-3) at 6 p.m.

It will be a remarkable road trip, full of hip hop music on the bus and another football clash, for a school that started the 2019 playoffs seeking its first postseason victory of any kind since 1996.

It will be a remarkable trip for a program once dubbed as a “hard” school to win at.

So how have the Lancers become winners? One ingredient fifth-year coach Pete Karavedas pointed to this week was Sunny Hills’ success attracting its neighborhood kids from Parks Junior High.

And sure enough, those were the kids on the field enjoying themselves in the near darkness this week.

Duxbury (6-1,m 175) and fellow star senior Wilson Cal (6-1, 190) were classmates at Parks Junior High.

Rising junior linebacker Carson Irons (6-0, 190) also attended Parks along with junior tight end/outside linebacker Noah Brown (6-0, 210) and Arnold Beltran.

And the list goes on.

“Pretty much everybody, or (they attended) Fisler,” Duxbury explained.

In years past as the Lancers struggled, the top athletes from Parks landed at other schools such as Troy or Fullerton.

Sunny Hills has worked hard to win them back with activities such as youth camps but they still needed standouts such as Duxbury and Cal to take a leap of faith.

They were Pop Warner teammates with the Fullerton Titans and both decided to attend Sunny Hills in 2016 despite the school not having a winning season since 2008.

“I was going to follow him where ever he went and he was following me where ever I went,” Duxbury said of Cal, who plays wide receiver and defensive back. “We knew if we both went to the same school, we could do some damage.”

Duxbury was a ball boy at Fullerton High as an eighth grader but saw the Lancers making progress on and off the field.

In the fall of 2015, in Karavedas’ first season, the Lancers beat Fullerton in Week 10 34-27 and made the playoffs as an at-large entry.

“They had coaches who put their players in position to make plays,” Duxbury recalled at the time. “We figured this would be our best opportunity to win a title.”

The Lancers did just last weekend in Santa Barbara, defeating the Dons 24-21 in the CIF-SS Division 8 final after a late interception by Cal.

Sunny Hills knows its not on the level of Freeway League rival La Habra but they’re defending their local turf. The Lancers have swept Fullerton and Troy the past two seasons.

They’re also changing the reputation of Sunny Hills football.

“This means so much to us because it breaks the stereotype, ‘Oh, Sunny Hills has been so garbage at football for the past 20 years,’ ” Duxbury said.

And the Lancers aren’t done. Their roster is a diverse mix of ethnic groups and they’ve already developed a position group to watch next year: “LBU”. Sunny Hills starts four junior linebackers in Irons, Kevin Hu, Brown and Vince Silva.

And there’s the opportunity on Saturday in Bakersfield to keep the magical run alive. Imagine, Sunny Hills as a California state champion?

“It’s a good feeling when there’s years of hard work behind (this),” Duxbury said. “We’ve been working all offseason, pretty much our whole lives to get to this moment.”

 

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Orange County girls tennis to be well-represented at CIF-SS individual semifinals

Orange County girls tennis will be well-represented Friday at the CIF-SS individual championships at Seal Beach Tennis Center.

Three of the four doubles teams in the semifinal are from the county while junior Kayla Meraz of Brea Olinda also made the final day of the tournament.

The finals will follow the semifinals Friday.

In doubles, top-seeded and Pacific Coast League champion Mya Wang and Emily Markus of University defeated Elaine Wu and Rakel Ang of San Marino 7-5, 7-5 on Thursday to reach the semifinals against Laguna Beach’s Ella Pachal and Sarah MacCallum.

The Wave League champions defeated Milana Molnar and Bailey Smolinski of San Juan Hills 6-0, 7-6 in another quarterfinal.

Beckman sophomores Victoria Aguiree and Kaitlyn Nguyen, the Pacific Coast League runner-ups, advanced to the semifinals by defeating Arcadia’s Makaila Cheng and Cara Hung 6-2, 6-3.

In singles, Brea Olinda junior Kayla Meraz advanced to the semifinals by defeating Troy junior Jenna Sabile 6-4, 6-1. Meraz, the North Hills League runner-up, will face Chadwick senior and Wake Forest commit Casie Wooten in the 9 a.m. semifinals.

 

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Whicker: Capitals’ John Carlson skates past Kings on the way to history

LOS ANGELES — The Kings have not yet reached the depths of the old Clippers, from their Sports Arena days, when they tried to entice fans by promoting the visiting stars.

On Wednesday night the Kings might have touted the arrival of John Carlson.

Carlson is not the most famous player on the Washington Capitals, but he is poised to make the type of history usually associated with Alex Ovechkin.

He scored the Caps’ first two goals in a 3-1 victory, and that gave him 11 goals and 42 points in 30 games.

That extrapolates to a 118-point pace. No defenseman has scored 100 points since the Rangers’ Brian Leetch got 102 in the 1991-92 season.

“That’s why he’s Johnny Norris,” T.J. Oshie said. “That’s really all you need to say. He’s one of our leaders. The points are amazing, but he’s also a solid rock back there defensively.”

Carlson has not finished higher than third in the Norris Trophy balloting, given to the best all-around defenseman. It usually winds up in the hands of a high scorer, and Carlson has led the NHL’s defenseman in scoring before, but he only needed 68 points to do so in 2018. He came into Wednesday night’s game 12 points ahead of Carolina’s Dougie Hamilton.

In 2004, the last year of Old Hockey, Sergei Gonchar of Washington led the league’s D-men with 58 points. After a year-long lockout, the NHL sped up the game with new rules, and Nicklas Lidstrom of Detroit led with 80 points in 2006.

But even last season there were only four defensemen with 70 or more. Carlson had 70, 18 fewer than league leader Brent Burns.

“Scoring is up across the board,” Carlson said. “There’s a lot more unpredictability, and guys are learning new ways to score. It’s the way the league is right now.”

Carlson found two ways to score in this one, both in the first period. He separated Trevor Lewis from the puck at his own blue line and sped down the right side.

“I thought I heard somebody yell 2-on-1, but when I looked up it wasn’t there,” he said. So he shot it at, and then past, Jonathan Quick.

On the second goal, Kings defenseman Drew Doughty got involved in a puck scrum along the boards and partner Joakim Ryan shaded over to help. Oshie freed the puck and swung it to the right side, to find Carlson with nearly half the zone to work with. Carlson skated in on Quick, got behind him and caromed the puck off his back for the 2-0 lead.

“There has to be a stronger belief system at the beginning of games,” said Kings coach Todd McLellan, whose team is now 11-16-2. “The start seems to be a bit of an issue. We got down two (goals) and it seemed like we said, OK, we’ve got nothing to lose, and then we became a better team. We’re struggling to score goals right now.”

The Kings had abundant chances but their power play remained arthritic. They got four shots on goal in six minutes of man-advantage time and scored none.

But early in the third period, Washington goalie Alex Samsonov indecisively played the puck behind his net. Kings’ rookie Blake Lizotte, who had just charged off the bench, ambushed Samsonov, making it 2-1.

With Quick on the bench, Dustin Brown got a pass from Alex Iafallo in front of Samsonov but couldn’t make his backhand shot work. Tom Wilson quickly turned it into an empty-net goal.

Washington, which won the Stanley Cup two years ago but was eliminated by Carolina in the first round last season, now has a 21-4-5 record and, with Carlson, has five players who have scored 10 or more goals. The Kings only have Anze Kopitar, with 10.

The Capitals won at San Jose on Tuesday night without a point from Ovechkin, and he didn’t score here either, which is not a comforting image for the rest of the Eastern Conference.

Carlson has steadily grown into NHL royalty, but the hockey world has known him for years. He scored an overtime goal for the U.S. team that beat Canada for the World Juniors championship in Saskatoon, nine years ago. A few months ago he got the game-winner as the Hershey Bears won the Calder Cup, the championship of the American Hockey League.

Eight of the Kings’ next nine games are on the road before a Dec. 23 match at Staples Center with the St. Louis Blues, who won the Stanley Cup in June. Clear your calendar; center Ryan O’Reilly and goalie Jordan Binnington might be worth a look.

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UCLA women’s soccer to meet nemesis Stanford in College Cup semifinal

LOS ANGELES — The last time UCLA met Stanford in an NCAA Tournament women’s soccer match was in the 2017 national championship game in Orlando, Fla.

Stanford defeated the Bruins 3-2 and took home the trophy.

Two years later, the Pac-12 powers have found their way through the 64-team bracket to meet again, but this time it’s in a semifinal.

“It still stings from my freshman year, a lot,” junior midfielder Viviana Villacorta said. “This is it, we have to leave everything out on the field because when can we get a chance like this again.”

The second-seeded Bruins (18-4-1 overall, 8-3 Pac-12) and the top-seeded Cardinal (22-1, 11-0) will face each other Friday at 6:30 p.m. in a College Cup semifinal at Avaya Stadium in San Jose. The winner faces either unseeded Washington State or top-seeded North Carolina in Sunday’s 5:30 p.m. title match.

This is the 11th time UCLA has made it to the College Cup, with the Bruins’ only national title coming in 2013 against Florida State.

“That’s big motivation for us,” Villacorta said about facing a familiar foe in Stanford. “It’s definitely something where we know we can do it, but we have to work extremely hard and together, that’s our mentality.”

Since meeting in the 2017 NCAA final, Stanford has defeated UCLA in each of their regular-season meetings the past two seasons, including a 1-0 decision on Oct. 19 at Stanford. UCLA is 0-4 all-time against Stanford in NCAA Tournament matches.

The Cardinal are currently on a 17-game winning streak and lead the nation with 98 goals. In tournament play, Stanford has outscored its opponents 26-1, including a 15-0 blowout of Prairie View A&M in the first round. Junior forward Catarina Malatskey leads the nation with 38 goals and 23 assists.

“As a group, we’re all really excited,” senior midfielder Jessie Fleming said. “We’ve played Stanford before, and we know it’s going to be a good game. Playing against good players has the tendency to bring out the best in us. We’re pumped for the matchup and excited for a (battle).”

The Bruins are confident last week’s 4-0 upset victory over top-seeded defending champion Florida State will carry over into this week. UCLA was just the second team in 10 years to take down the Seminoles in Tallahassee during the postseason. It was the second time this season the Bruins defeated Florida State, after beating the team 2-1 in Westwood in August.

“It’s a hard place to go win in the postseason, so doing that and also having to beat them twice this year, I think we’ve proven ourselves to be the team we are and the team to look out for,” UCLA head coach Amanda Cromwell said.

The Bruins, who finished second in the conference, behind Stanford, have won nine in a row and 12 of their last 13 matches. UCLA has outscored its four postseason opponents 15-1.

“I just feel like the team is really coming into our own, and we’re just peaking right at the good time,” Villacorta said. “We found this confidence because we’re getting comfortable playing with each other. Playing in this formation too, we’re just really confident knowing that it’s going to work.”

The Pac-12 made conference history last week when four teams made it to the tournament’s quarterfinals for the first time (UCLA, Stanford, Washington State and USC). USC was eliminated by North Carolina 3-2.

“We have two California teams in one of the semifinals and three Pac-12 teams in the Final Four. That’s what really makes it special this year because of how well the whole Pac-12 has done,” Cromwell said. “I’m excited about that. It gives us confidence because we know the level of play that we had all season prepared us for this moment.”

On the other side of the bracket, Washington State (16-6-1, 5-5-1) will be making its first-ever appearance in the College Cup after upsetting No. 1 seed Virginia in the second round and No. 2 seed South Carolina 1-0 in overtime in a quarterfinal last week.

North Carolina (23-1-1), meanwhile, is playing for its 22nd national title. The two meet in the early semifinal on Friday at 4 p.m.

🎶 U-C-L-A 🎶

FINAL. 👏 FOUR. 👏 BOUND. 👏#WCollegeCup | @UCLAWSoccer pic.twitter.com/lVicIJcZjM

— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) November 29, 2019

For the 1⃣1⃣th time in program history, the @UCLAWSoccer team is headed to the College Cup! 🥅

They beat defending National Champs with 4 Bruin goals. 🐻🐻🐻🐻#WCollegeCup | #Pac12Soccer pic.twitter.com/wPbsyW2dmL

— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) November 29, 2019

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All of OCVarsity’s stories, photos, scores and more from Saturday’s CIF-SS championship games

This is the place to find all of OCVarsity’s coverage of the CIF-SS football championship games on Saturday night, plus the games on Friday night.

We’ll have a story on the CIF SoCal Regional pairings online Sunday afternoon and the final Orange County Top 25 online Monday afternoon.

SATURDAY’S GAMES

OCVarsity Photos: All the drama, celebrations from Saturday’s CIF-SS football championships

CIF-SS football playoff scores: Saturday, Nov. 30

St. John Bosco rallies to stun No. 1 Mater Dei for CIF-SS Division 1 football title

Fryer on football: Season ends with unexpected twist for Mater Dei and Bryce Young

Whicker: Bosco’s Bravehearts ride their defense to an amazing comeback

San Juan Hills football reaches the top by winning CIF-SS Division 4 championship

Sunny Hills football delivers another amazing finish to win CIF-SS Division 8 title

Esperanza football wins first CIF-SS title since 1992 with heroic effort by Gooding, defense

FRIDAY’S GAMES

All of OCVarsity’s stories, scores, photos and more from Friday’s championship games

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UCLA football’s underclassmen step up and show depth in season finale

PASADENA — In a night most often reserved for the celebration of seniors, a handful of UCLA underclassmen stepped up during Saturday’s season finale when the team needed them most — proving the Bruins’ depth is well prepared to take over for its departing seniors.

“That group took advantage of the opportunities that they had, and they’re excited to come back when we get a chance to get to spring ball and coach these guys up,” UCLA coach Chip Kelly said. “I know that through the experience that they’ve had and how they really progressed during the season, that I’m excited about what the future is.”

With three of the Bruins’ six starting seniors either sitting out the game with a previous injury, or suffering one during Saturday’s 28-18 loss to Cal, the Bruins’ underclassmen stepped up on both sides of the ball.

Prior to kickoff, senior inside linebacker Krys Barnes was dressed in full pads as he walked through a tunnel of cheering teammates toward his family during the team’s pregame senior celebration. His right ankle was taped, while his left leg sported a brace. Barnes did not play in the game, instead finding his place along the sideline and on the outside of huddles.

In his place was sophomore Bo Calvert, who made his season debut after missing the rest of the season due to serving an academic suspension. Because of the suspension, Calvert will not be given the option to redshirt the season.

However, he made his one-game season count as he earned the starting position in Barnes’ place and finished with 7 tackles.

“It was tough not having Krys out there, but he was in my ear the whole game, and I felt like I was really playing with him even though we weren’t out on the field together,” Calvert said. “I was able to make some plays for him and it felt good.”

Another underclassman filling in for an injured senior was redshirt sophomore Sam Marrazzo at center for Boss Tagaloa. Tagaloa left the game with less than a minute left in the first quarter with an injury. He was seen walking with a slight limp as he left the field into the players’ tunnel before halftime. He did not return to the game as Marrazzo played the remainder of the game.

As UCLA lost its lead at the end of the first quarter, it was the underclassmen that continued to play through the game without a sign of giving up. Some played through injury, as others took any small window of opportunity to leave an impact and help the team.

Junior defensive back Quinten Lake made his return after missing the past eight games due to a wrist injury. He ended Saturday’s game with four tackles while playing with a cast.

While senior running back Joshua Kelley had a historic night, redshirt junior running back Demetric Felton showed what he’ll bring in Kelley’s spot as he finished the night with 65 total yards.

Sophomore wide receiver Delon Hurt also made his name known, celebrating his first career reception on a two-point conversion to get UCLA within three points of Cal at 21-18 with about two-and-a-half minutes left in the third quarter.

It’s this sense of grit that Calvert believes is the biggest impact this year’s senior class has left on the younger Bruins.

“The seniors have taught us all throughout this year to just be able to put your head down and work,” he said. “To not let the things around you distract you from what’s your ultimate goal and to keep moving forward. Those guys have faced a lot of adversity in their time here, but they were able to push forward and that’s really inspiring and makes you want to work harder.”

Seniors, like Kelley, believe it’s what will help propel next year’s team to successful heights.

“I have no doubt in my mind that they’re going to be [a contender in the conference],” Kelley said. “I know so. UCLA is going to be great these next two years, and I just know it without a doubt.”

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Whicker: Bosco’s Bravehearts ride their defense to an amazing comeback

NORWALK — They blitzed him from all sides, encroaching him en masse, collapsing his pocket. All the while, D.J. Uiagalelei couldn’t stop laughing.

They were St. John Bosco classmates, friends, parents of friends, parents of classmates, little brothers and sisters and maybe some strangers, too. They took turns posing for selfies with Uiagalelei, as if he were a famous statue. Some hugged him. Some just looked in his eyes and yelled, overcome with delight.

They will see Uiagalelei play one more high school football game, one more than any of them could have imagined in the second quarter of this CIF Southern Section Division 1 championship game at Cerritos College Saturday night. At one point the Braves trailed Mater Dei, 28-5. They won, 39-34, and someone asked safety JonJon Vaughns where they could have found such hope. “When you have heart, you have hope,” he said.

Bravehearts, indeed. Talent helps, too.


St. John Bosco Braves head coach Jason Negro, left, holds the championship placard over quarterback DJ Uiagalelei (5) at the end of the 2019 CIF Southern Section Division 1 High School Football Championship game at Cerritos College in Norwalk, Calif. on Saturday November 30, 2019. St. John Bosco Braves defeated the Mater Dei Monarchs 39-34. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

Uiagalelei will lead the Braves against De La Salle two weekends from now, in a state championship game. After that, his next appearance will be on behalf of Clemson. He looked the part here, with five touchdown passes, no interceptions and 441 yards. At one point the Braves scored 34 consecutive points.

But the defense was the driving force, at least after it gave up two touchdowns in Mater Dei’s first six plays. After that, the Monarchs scored only 20 more points, six in the second half, and even though Bryce Young threw five TD passes of his own, Mater Dei suffered four turnovers, and Bosco’s pass rushers painted Young into a deeper corner with each snap. The Braves held the Monarchs to 139 yards in the second half.

“We couldn’t let Bryce run around like he usually does,” said Nathan Burrell, who had two sacks, blitzed Young into an intentional grounding call in the end zone, which is a safety, and tipped a pass and intercepted it in the fourth quarter.

“He’s more dangerous on the outside than the inside,” Burrell said. “And we started running some games as the game went on, gave their linemen some different looks. They don’t like to move like that.”

“We sat back and tried to control Bryce and make him throw the ball down the field,” said Jason Negro, the Bosco coach. “That’s when we were able to make plays. I think we might have confused him and made him change some things on the line of scrimmage. And we moved Nathan around quite a bit.”

Mater Dei had a final shot when Negro decided to go for fourth-and-1 in his own territory. Uiagalelei tried to sneak it but was stacked up by Tyler Narayan among others. But Ma’a Gaoteote broke free and sacked Young, who fumbled it to Bosco’s Andrew Simpson.

Mater Dei had won its previous three games by a total of 102 points and had failed to win by fewer than 20 points only twice. They also had beaten Bosco 38-24 on Oct. 25. Sometimes you can be too good for your own good, although the Braves weren’t accustomed to contentious fourth quarters either, with only one close win of their own (27-26 at Servite).

“On that last sack we were in the wrong protection,” said Bruce Rollinson, the Monarchs’ coach. “They brought a seventh guy and we didn’t see him. Bryce was great, he made all the calls the whole game. We had opportunities, and when we’ve had opportunities this year we’ve always capitalized. Tonight we didn’t, and that’s high school football.

“We were ahead, and we told them at halftime just to erase everything that had happened. But that’s a good team over there.”

Bosco didn’t let Young or anyone else run, although Mater Dei only rushed 16 times, for 32 yards. “We knew they really wanted to throw the ball, which helped us,” Burrell said.

The other key was removing Kody Epps, who had caught 11 passes for 175 yards in the regular-season victory. Epps caught just one pass Saturday, none in the first half.

“We had to double-team him,” Vaughns said. “Definitely we double-teamed him in the slot, and when he was wide we moved a safety over to that side. Everybody else was on an island. We couldn’t let him hurt us like we did before.

“I told my D-linemen that we were going to give them six seconds. We were going to cover them for six seconds, so y’all go get him (Young). They did a great job, but I thought after halftime our whole offense and defense were rolling.”

Nobody on the field was ready to go home yet. It was a boisterous, somewhat bitter game, but now Braves and Monarchs were chatting in peace. As Vaughns said, many of the players had known each other since youth football. They’ve been in all-star games together, been on the same recruiting trips.

But the magnet was Uiagalelei, greeting all comers like a politician on a rope line.

“We’ve seen him do this so many times before,” Burrell said. “D.J.’s a god.”

His disciples weren’t bad either.

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Bosco’s Bravehearts ride their defense to an amazing comeback

NORWALK — They blitzed him from all sides, encroaching him en masse, collapsing his pocket. All the while, D.J. Uiagalelei couldn’t stop laughing.

They were St. John Bosco classmates, friends, parents of friends, parents of classmates, little brothers and sisters and maybe some strangers, too. They took turns posing for selfies with Uiagalelei, as if he were a famous statue. Some hugged him. Some just looked in his eyes and yelled, overcome with delight.

They will see Uiagalelei play one more high school football game, one more than any of them could have imagined in the second quarter of this CIF Southern Section Division 1 championship game at Cerritos College Saturday night. At one point the Braves trailed Mater Dei, 28-5. They won, 39-34, and someone asked safety JonJon Vaughns where they could have found such hope. “When you have heart, you have hope,” he said.

Bravehearts, indeed. Talent helps, too.


St. John Bosco Braves head coach Jason Negro, left, holds the championship placard over quarterback DJ Uiagalelei (5) at the end of the 2019 CIF Southern Section Division 1 High School Football Championship game at Cerritos College in Norwalk, Calif. on Saturday November 30, 2019. St. John Bosco Braves defeated the Mater Dei Monarchs 39-34. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

Uiagalelei will lead the Braves against De La Salle two weekends from now, in a state championship game. After that, his next appearance will be on behalf of Clemson. He looked the part here, with five touchdown passes, no interceptions and 441 yards. At one point the Braves scored 34 consecutive points.

But the defense was the driving force, at least after it gave up two touchdowns in Mater Dei’s first six plays. After that, the Monarchs scored only 20 more points, six in the second half, and even though Bryce Young threw five TD passes of his own, Mater Dei suffered four turnovers, and Bosco’s pass rushers painted Young into a deeper corner with each snap. The Braves held the Monarchs to 139 yards in the second half.

“We couldn’t let Bryce run around like he usually does,” said Nathan Burrell, who had two sacks, blitzed Young into an intentional grounding call in the end zone, which is a safety, and tipped a pass and intercepted it in the fourth quarter.

“He’s more dangerous on the outside than the inside,” Burrell said. “And we started running some games as the game went on, gave their linemen some different looks. They don’t like to move like that.”

“We sat back and tried to control Bryce and make him throw the ball down the field,” said Jason Negro, the Bosco coach. “That’s when we were able to make plays. I think we might have confused him and made him change some things on the line of scrimmage. And we moved Nathan around quite a bit.”

Mater Dei had a final shot when Negro decided to go for fourth-and-1 in his own territory. Uiagalelei tried to sneak it but was stacked up by Tyler Narayan among others. But Ma’a Gaoteote broke free and sacked Young, who fumbled it to Bosco’s Andrew Simpson.

Mater Dei had won its previous three games by a total of 102 points and had failed to win by fewer than 20 points only twice. They also had beaten Bosco 38-24 on Oct. 25. Sometimes you can be too good for your own good, although the Braves weren’t accustomed to contentious fourth quarters either, with only one close win of their own (27-26 at Servite).

“On that last sack we were in the wrong protection,” said Bruce Rollinson, the Monarchs’ coach. “They brought a seventh guy and we didn’t see him. Bryce was great, he made all the calls the whole game. We had opportunities, and when we’ve had opportunities this year we’ve always capitalized. Tonight we didn’t, and that’s high school football.

“We were ahead, and we told them at halftime just to erase everything that had happened. But that’s a good team over there.”

Bosco didn’t let Young or anyone else run, although Mater Dei only rushed 16 times, for 32 yards. “We knew they really wanted to throw the ball, which helped us,” Burrell said.

The other key was removing Kody Epps, who had caught 11 passes for 175 yards in the regular-season victory. Epps caught just one pass Saturday, none in the first half.

“We had to double-team him,” Vaughns said. “Definitely we double-teamed him in the slot, and when he was wide we moved a safety over to that side. Everybody else was on an island. We couldn’t let him hurt us like we did before.

“I told my D-linemen that we were going to give them six seconds. We were going to cover them for six seconds, so y’all go get him (Young). They did a great job, but I thought after halftime our whole offense and defense were rolling.”

Nobody on the field was ready to go home yet. It was a boisterous, somewhat bitter game, but now Braves and Monarchs were chatting in peace. As Vaughns said, many of the players had known each other since youth football. They’ve been in all-star games together, been on the same recruiting trips.

But the magnet was Uiagalelei, greeting all comers like a politician on a rope line.

“We’ve seen him do this so many times before,” Burrell said. “D.J.’s a god.”

His disciples weren’t bad either.

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UCLA football ends season with third straight loss

PASADENA >> UCLA’s senior night ceremony may have been the only thing worth celebrating, as the Bruins fell to the Cal in the season finale 28-18 at the Rose Bowl Saturday. The Bruins’ season ends on a three-game losing streak, which was the same way it started.

Running back Joshua Kelley wrapped up his UCLA career with 19 carries for 76 yards and a touchdown, becoming the eighth Bruin to rush for 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons.

Kelley hurdled a Cal defender on the way to a 20-yard first quarter run to surpass the 1,000-yard mark.

The senior joined a list of running backs that includes Paul Perkins (2014-15), DeShaun Foster (2000-01) and Skip Hicks (1997-98), who all reached the same mark.

The Bruins cut Cal’s lead to three after Kelley’s 1-yard touchdown run and a successful two-point conversion with 2:26 left in the third quarter.

Cal running back Christopher Brown Jr. answered with a 10-yard touchdown run with 14:53 left in the fourth quarter to increase the lead to 10, following the PAT.

Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson relied on tight end Devin Asiasi to get the offense moving in the first half. As Thompson-Robinson endured his third sack, for a loss of 10 yards by Lone Toailoa of Cal, in the final 50 seconds of the first quarter, the Bruins also lost starting senior center Boss Tagaloa for the game.

Starting left guard Duke Clemens also went down in the third quarter with an injury.

Thompson-Robinson would head into the locker room with two minutes left to play after he was slow to get up off the field. Backup quarterback Austin Burton came into the game and led the Bruins down the field only to be stopped at the 2-yard line on 4th-and-1.

 

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All of OCVarsity’s stories, scores, photos and more from Friday’s championship games

This is the place to find all of OCVarsity’s coverage of the CIF-SS championship football games on Friday and the previews of Saturday’s games.

FRIDAY’S GAMES

OCVarsity Photos: Friday’s CIF-SS football championship games

CIF-SS football playoff scores: Friday, Nov. 29

Corona del Mar reverses fortunes, beats Grace Brethren for CIF-SS Division 3 title

Marina knocks off Muir to win first CIF-SS football title

Cypress football tripped up by turnovers, loses to Temecula Valley in Division 7 final

SATURDAY’S GAMES

Record-setting receiver Kody Epps lands in the center of Mater Dei-St. John Bosco CIF-SS showdown

Fryer: Who has the edge in Mater Dei vs. St. John Bosco? It looks one-sided

Steve Fryer and Dan Albano predictions for CIF-SS football championship games

Sunny Hills football will count on group effort to bring home CIF-SS title

Esperanza football shares the credit for team’s stunning trip to Division 13 title game

St. John Bosco defenders hopeful they can slow Mater Dei’s ‘Magic Man’ in CIF-SS football final

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