The CIF Southern Section Pac-5 championship is arguably the hardest title to win in California. St. John Bosco won it last year. How hard could it be to repeat?
Apparently, harder than expected.
The Braves came into the game with confidence. They have been here before, and they know what it takes to win.
Or so they thought.
The Corona Centennial Huskies entered the Pac-5 championship in their first year in the division. They were the clear underdogs. But the scoreboard did not reflect that, as they captured their first Pac-5 championship with a 48-41 win over the Bosco Braves in front of a crowd of almost 12,000.
The Huskies were led by a phenomenal performance by running back Sammonte Bonner, who finished with 227 yards and four touchdowns.
The first quarter was a battle of the running backs, with Bonner and Bosco’s Sean McGrew swapping scores for four consecutive possessions. However, Bonner then smoked the Bosco defense for a 63-yard touchdown run, which put the Huskies ahead, 21-14.
Bosco could not answer that score, with McGrew fumbling it on their first play of the ensuing possession. The Huskies recovered the loose ball, giving them excellent field position. Three plays later, Anthony Catalano found Javon McKinley in the end zone for an 18-yard touchdown pass. This put the game at 27-14.
Bosco’s next possession wasn’t pretty, as they went three and out. A bad punt put the Huskies right back in business. Bosco’s defense forced a fourth and four, but Centennial quarterback Nate Ketteringham found Greyson Bankhead for a 32-yard touchdown strike. This put the score at 34-14.
This 20-point deficit was Bosco’s worst since they were down 24 to Bishop Gorman in September. The game was getting out of hand fast.
Bosco wasn’t going to throw in the towel just yet. Sean McGrew broke off a 56-yard touchdown run to tighten the score to 34-20.
But Bosco’s defense couldn’t hold the Huskies, and Bonner scored his fourth touchdown of the game, a six-yard run, 41-20.
Bosco marched right back, finishing with Clifford Simms punching it in from one yard. With 2:30 remaining in the third quarter, Bosco cut the lead to 41-27.
Centennial was forced to punt for the first time in the game, which led to Josh Rosen finding Jared Harrell for a 60-yard touchdown pass. That made it a seven-point game with the fourth quarter yet to play.
The game went from a blowout to a potential classic.
With another Bosco defensive stop, their offense took over with a chance to tie the game. A rare Josh Rosen interception led to another rushing touchdown for Centennial, this time an Anthony Catalano quarterback keeper, putting Centennial up 48-34 with just 8:03 to play.
Rosen, realizing this could be his last game in a Braves uniform, kicked it into gear. With no one open on 4th down, Rosen took off for a 52-yard gain, putting the Braves on the Huskies’ 13. On the next play, Rosen found Kaylin Franklin for a 13-yard touchdown pass. With only 6:15 remaining, Centennial got the ball back with a 48-41 lead.
One stop would give Rosen one more chance to force overtime. But that chance would never come, as the Huskies ran out the clock.
McGrew finished with 114 yards and three scores, and Rosen passed for 270 yards and two touchdowns in a losing effort. St. John Bosco ends the season with a 12-2 record.