To no one’s surprise, Mater Dei and St. John Bosco will square off in the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 title game Nov. 20 — the fourth straight year the two Trinity League titans have made the finals.
To the surprise of many, however, four other local Catholic school teams (from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles) made the championship game in their respective divisions after surviving the semifinals last weekend. Six Catholic school finalists is a record, one more than the five finalists of 1997, 1998, 2013 and 2017.
This year’s finalists include Chaminade of West Hills, which received a makeshift bye into the Division 2 finals after their scheduled opponent, San Clemente, was disqualified prior to the game for using an ineligible player during the playoffs.
Also playing for titles this Saturday will be Loyola (Division 4), St. Paul (Division 5) and St. Pius X-St. Matthias Academy (Division 14). The breakdown from last weekend:
Division 1: No. 1 Mater Dei outscored No. 4 and previously unbeaten Mission Viejo 49-24, as Bryce Young threw seven touchdown passes, five of them to Kody Epps. The Monarchs have been ranked No. 1 nationally by Maxpreps and are the defending state Open Division champions. No. 2 St. John Bosco — whose only loss during the regular season was to Mater Dei — overwhelmed No. 3 Centennial/Corona 52-14. DJ Uiagalelei tossed four scoring passes and the Braves gained 272 yards rushing in advancing to their seventh straight CIF-SS finals.
D-2: Chaminade’s appearance in the finals is its first since winning the Western Division crown in 2013.
D-3: Alemany lost 48-21 to top-seeded Corona del Mar.
D-4: Loyola exploded to a 21-0 first-quarter lead and dominated No. 1 Camarillo, 31-14. For the Cubs, it’s their first CIF-SS final since 2005, when they won the Division I crown.
D-5: St. Paul used a ball-control offense to upset previously unbeaten Culver City 14-10, gaining the Swordsmen their first championship round game since 2007 when they won the Western Division title.
D-6: Crespi was beaten 37-10 by Pacifica/Oxnard.
D-14: Top-seeded and unbeaten St. Pius X-St. Matthias reached its first-ever CIF-SS final by outlasting Vista del Lago 34-31. A fourth-and-seven TD scamper by Ahmir Ford with 54 seconds to play gave the Warriors the win.
A first look at the finals:
D-1 (Nov. 30, 7:30 p.m.): Mater Dei (12-0) vs. St. John Bosco (11-1) at Cerritos College. Mater Dei won their previous encounter on Oct. 25, 38-24, and has beaten the Braves the last two years in the D-1 title game after St. John Bosco downed the Monarchs in the 2016 finals.
D-2: (Nov. 29, 7 p.m.): Sierra Canyon (11-1), last year’s D-3 champion, at Chaminade (7-5).
D-4: (Nov. 30, 7:30 p.m.): San Juan Hills (10-3) at Loyola (6-6).
D-5: (Nov. 29): Aquinas (11-2) at St. Paul (11-2).
D-14: (Nov. 29, 7 p.m.): St. Pius X-St. Matthias (11-0) at South Torrance (9-4).