Utilizing its seriously high-powered offense and enough defense at key moments, St. John Bosco High School captured its third state Open Division football championship with a 49-28 victory Dec. 14 over De La Salle of Concord.

With the win before a noisy crowd of 8,000 at Cerritos College Stadium, the Braves of Bellflower maintained their pattern of “every third year” championships, having won 20-14 in 2013 and 56-33 in 2016, both times over De La Salle. 

It was also the fourth straight loss in the championship round for De La Salle, with Mater Dei — the team St. John Bosco beat to reach the 2019 state final — winning in 2017 and 2018.

To no one’s surprise, it was DJ Uiagalelei, the Braves’ 6-foot-5 quarterback, leading the way with 398 yards and four touchdowns passing, plus 64 yards rushing and another TD, a nine-yard run that gave St. John Bosco a 42-28 lead with eight minutes to play.

Also key were receiver Kris Hutson, who scored the game’s opening touchdown, and Matthew Jordan, whose 96-yard TD scamper with a recovered Spartan fumble with three and a half minutes remaining clinched the win, after De La Salle had driven to the Braves’ two yard line.

The Braves dominated the first half, allowing just a single De La Salle TD late in the second quarter that made the score 14-7 Bosco at the break. After a technical difficulties delay at the end of halftime, the Braves continued to attack De La Salle, stretching their lead until the Spartans stormed back to within 35-28 in the fourth quarter.

But the Braves surrendered nothing more, ending with 537 yards of offense, a 13-1 record under coach Jason Negro, and the number 1 ranking from Maxpreps — a fine way to celebrate an early Christmas.