The top two high school football teams in Southern California — and the U.S. — each did their part last weekend, winning big to set up a “game of the decade” (2018 edition, at least) this Friday.

No. 1 Mater Dei smothered Santa Margarita, 49-7, and No. 2 St. John Bosco did likewise to Orange Lutheran, 63-28, although the Braves found themselves in a 21-21 tie just seconds before halftime.

Enter junior wide receiver Kristopher Hutson, who returned a kickoff 70 yards for a touchdown with two seconds left in the second quarter, then opened the third quarter with a 90-yard kickoff return TD, then caught a pair of scoring passes later in the period from DJ Uiagalelei.

With that, St. John Bosco was on its way to a 7-0 record, 2-0 in the Trinity League, and its Oct. 12 encounter with Mater Dei, 7 p.m. at Santa Ana Stadium.

The Monarchs (6-1, 2-0 in league) did all their scoring in the first half last Friday, as Bryce Young threw four TD passes, two to two-way star Bru McCoy. Mater Dei, the defending national champion (as per Maxpreps), defeated St. John Bosco twice last year, 31-21 in Trinity League play and 49-24 in the CIF-SS Division 1 title game.

Among the region’s other top Catholic teams, J.Serra (No. 7 in D-1) remained in the Trinity league hunt with a 49-6 win over Servite (3-3). The Lions (6-1, 1-1 in league) host Orange Lutheran this Friday in San Juan Capistrano.

All three Mission League leaders (each now 2-0) won last week: Alemany (No. 5 in D-2), 31-14 over Chaminade; Notre Dame/Sherman Oaks (No. 8 in D-2), 28-7 over Loyola; and Bishop Amat, 35-14 over Serra. Bishop Amat (6-1 overall) is at Notre Dame (5-2) this Friday, while Alemany (6-1) is at Serra (3-3).

In the Del Rey League, St. Anthony outscored La Salle, 56-31, and Harvard-Westlake got by St. Genevieve, 28-20. St. Anthony (2-6 overall, 1-1 in league) hosts St. Genevieve (4-3, 0-1) this week.

League action was not kind to other Catholic school teams. Damien (Baseline) lost to Chino Hills, 42-20; St. Bonaventure (Marmonte, sixth in D-4) lost to Westlake, 39-7; Santa Clara (Citrus Coast) was beaten by Nordhoff, 28-7; and Bishop Diego (Camino) fell to Camarillo, 49-14.

In an all-Catholic non-league affair matching powerful offenses, Paraclete beat St. Francis, 56-49, on a three-yard TD pass from Marshall Saul to Henry Ikahihifo with eight seconds left, after St. Francis had rallied from a 28-7 halftime deficit to tie the score with 2:51 remaining. Saul was 25-for-25 passing, for 331 yards, while St. Francis’ Darius Perrantes threw for 408 yards and five touchdowns.  

St. Paul (No. 3 in D-5) defeated Crespi 34-15, Mary Star of the Sea blanked Verbum Dei 37-0, and St. Bernard (No. 8 in D-13) ended St. Monica’s three-game win streak, 40-13.

Elsewhere, Bishop Montgomery edged Pioneer, 26-25; Stellar Prep (Oakland) stopped St. Pius X-St. Matthias, 24-0; and Rancho Christian beat Salesian, 33-21. Cathedral and Cantwell-Sacred Heart were idle.

In eight-man football, Thacher edged Villanova 22-20 in a Mount Pinos League game, and Sage Hill downed St. Michael’s Prep 57-8 in the Express League).

Mike Nelson is the former editor of the The Tidings (predecessor of Angelus News).

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