In 2010, the St. John Bosco football program faced a crossroads. Over a decade later, it is clear the Braves chose the right path with Bosco alum Jason Negro. The Braves head coach is 121-21 in 11 seasons. His fall 2021 team will begin the season ranked in the nation’s top 10 and once again Negro will prove that his Braves will take on anyone in the country.
Right from the start, St. John Bosco will face some of the stiffest competition in the US when the Braves travel to Miami to take on perennial power Central HS. Miami Central won its second straight Florida Class 6A state championship last season. The Braves will also square off against Midwest power East St. Louis (IL) and then will travel to Oscar Smith, one of the top programs in the state of Virginia.
Negro and the Braves will also play one of the toughest league schedules in America as a member of the well-known Trinity League. Since 2006, St. John Bosco has won the league title five times, including four straight from 2012-15. The Braves’ most recent Trinity League championship was in 2018. Rival Mater Dei has won each of the past two league titles.
The Braves will reload in 2021 after losing WR Beaux Collins (6-3, 195) is off to Clemson and CB Kamren Blanton (5-11, 175) will play at UNLV this fall. St. John Bosco will also be without LB Andrew Simpson (Boise State), OT Max Gibbs (USC), OT Anton Anbuehl (UNLV), and DT Ieremia Moore (Cal).
In the shortened 2021 spring season, St. John Bosco’s offense was virtually unstoppable averaging 47.2 points per game. It all starts at quarterback where Negro has two future FBS starters in ’22 prospect Katin Houser and ’23 recruit Pierce Clarkson, son of QB guru Steve Clarkson. Houser is committed to Michigan State and Clarkson holds a number of FBS offers.
Both quarterbacks will benefit from having one of the nation’s top offensive linemen up front. Earnest Greene (6-5, 330) holds dozens of offers and is the anchor for the Braves offense. RB Rayshon Luke (5-8, 165) leads the running game. The speedy, shifty Luke has a number of offers including the SEC’s Florida, Georgia, and LSU as well as from USC and UCLA of the Pac-12.
Luke isn’t the only running back in the Braves’ stable. Jabari Bates (5-8, 160) holds a number of Power 5 offers and Michael Hayes (5-8, 165) has offers from Fresno State and Boise State.
Houser and Clarkson will miss Collins in the passing game, but 2023 ATH Jahlil McClain should step in and become the go-to target. At 5-10 and 180 pounds, McClain is a top prospect in his class with offers from Texas, Oregon, Arizona State, and others.
The Bosco defense should be a strength in 2021. Sione Hala (6-2, 190) is one of the best safeties in California and he is committed to Boston College. Linebacker Jalen Woods (6-0, 210) is a UCLA commit, and defensive linemen Nathan Burrell (6-2, 285) and Jairus Satel (6-0, 297) are committed to Cal and the Naval Academy, respectively.
It doesn’t stop there either. Matayo Uiagalelei (6-6, 265) may be California’s best prospect in the Class of 2023. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because the defensive end is the younger brother of Clemson QB DJ Uiagalelei. The younger Uiagalelei will also be used at tight end. Among his two dozen or so offers are all of the major Power 5 programs including Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, and more.
The Bosco defense also has 2023 prospects RJ Jones (6-1, 185) at safety and JShawn Frausto-Ramos (6-0, 170) at cornerback. Both should play a significant role in helping the Braves defense improve from the spring season. In six games, Bosco gave up 125 points, an average of just over 20 per game. The Braves allowed 28 points twice and 34 in the loss to Mater Dei. With all of the talent Negro has returning on the defensive side of the ball, St. John Bosco should be much better than their spring performance.
Prior to this year’s spring season, the Braves had won 11 or more games in five straight seasons. Over the past five years, Negro has led the Braves to a 55-8 mark and the school has three state championships dating back to 2013 (2013, 2016, 2019).
St. John Bosco enters the 2021 season as one of the top five teams in the nation according to EFN. The biggest challenge, as it is every year, is one of the toughest schedules in high school football.
There will be the opener in Miami against Central, a two-time defending state champion. East St. Louis, 5-1 last season, comes to town in early September followed by the date at Oscar Smith in Virginia. Oscar Smith went 9-0 last season with a defense that gave up just 44 points all season and recorded five shutouts.
Once the Braves navigate the non-league schedule, then there is the business of playing the rest of the Trinity League. There is the rivalry game, of course, with Mater Dei. EFN will be on hand for that one which will be played on October 1.
The rivalry game will be followed by JSerra Catholic, Orange Lutheran, Santa Margarita, and the regular season finally against another Top 25 program – Servite. The Friars have one of the most dangerous offenses in California with QB Noah Fifita (Arizona commit), four-star WR Tetairoa McMillan, and TE Keyan Burnett (USC commit).
One thing Negro has done throughout his career at Bosco is win. He has done it every year facing murderous schedules. The Braves defense should be much improved. There are not one, but two Power 5 quarterbacks running an extremely powerful offense. Tough schedule or not, St. John Bosco should be right in the thick of a fourth California state championship as well as a national title.