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No. 1 St. John Bosco football 'has the makings to go undefeated'

The Braves bring back 14 starters from last year's team including Louisville-bound QB Pierce Clarkson to top California's Top 50.

SBLive is previewing the Top 50 high school football teams in California ahead of the 2022 season. Here’s an inside look at the St. John Bosco Braves of the CIF Southern Section, the No. 1 team in our countdown.

ST. JOHN BOSCO TEAM PAGE2022 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

HEAD COACH

Jason Negro

  • 13th season (131-23)
  • 3 CIF championships and 3 state titles
  • Formerly coached at Trabuco Hills

2021 AT A GLANCE

  • Overall record: 10-2
  • League record: 4-1 (2nd place in Trinity League)
  • Lost in Division 1 Southern Section semifinals 40-21 to Servite

2022 SCHEDULE

(All games are at 7 p.m. unless noted)

  • Aug. 26 at Allen (Texas)
  • Sep. 2 at Bishop Amat
  • Sep. 9 at Central Catholic (Ore.)
  • Sep. 17 vs. Kahuku (Hawaii)
  • Sep. 23 vs. Central Catholic
  • Sep. 30 at Servite
  • Oct. 7 @ Mater Dei
  • Oct. 14 vs. JSerra
  • Oct. 21 vs. Orange Lutheran
  • Oct. 28 vs. Santa Margarita

RETURNING STARTERS

  • 7 on offense
  • 7 on defense

GRADUATED ALL-CIF SOUTHERN SECTION PLAYERS

  • Rayshon Luke — RB — Arizona
  • Earnest Greene — OL — Georgia
  • Jalen Woods — LB — UCLA
  • Jarius Satele — DL — San Jose State

OTHER IMPACT DEPARTURES

  • Katin Houser — QB — Michigan State
  • Jabari Bates — RB — San Jose State
  • Michael Hayes — RB — Cerritos College
  • Jaceon Doss — WR 
  • Chedon James — WR — Air Force
  • Logan Booher — WR — Cal Poly
  • Maicah Talavou — OL — Army
  • Tyson Molio'o — OL — Boise State
  • Nathan Burrell — DL — Cal
  • Malachi Finau — DL — Hawaii
  • Tayvion Beasley — CB — Jackson State
  • Jaxon Harley — S — UCLA
  • Sione "Riz" Hala  — S — Boston College

IMPACT PLAYERS TO WATCH

QB Pierce Clarkson — Sr. — 6-foot, 190 pounds

2022 Preseason Power 25 Photo Shoot with St. John Bosco. Photo-Heston Quan98 (1)

Louisville commit

2021 stats: Completed 71 of 118 passes for 1,416 yards, 16 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, 254 rushing yards, 4 TDs

Negro: “Pierce is a two year part time starter. We’re really excited about his development. His leadership qualities have really come to the forefront now that it’s his job and we’re really excited about what he’s going to be able to bring to the table."

QB Caleb Sanchez — Jr. — 6-3, 220

2021 stats: Completed 7 of 13 passes for 143 yards, 2 TDs

Negro: “Caleb is a very able capable backup who's also going to play quite a bit during this year. He is a big, physical and athletic type guy with a strong arm."

RB Khalil Warren— Jr. — 5-8, 235

Offer sheet: San Jose State

2021 stats: 10 carries for 17 yards and 1 TD

RB Chauncey Sylvester — Jr. — 5-10, 180

Offer sheet: University of Arizona

2021 stats: 10 carries for 49 yards, 1 TD, 2 receptions for 46 yards, 1 TD

RB/WR Cameron Jones Sr. — 6-2, 230

2021 stats (at Corona Centennial): 30 carries for 292 yards, 7 TDs, 1 catch for 22 yards, 1 TD

RB/WR Eric Denham — Sr. — 5-11, 190

Offer sheet: Arizona State and UNLV

2021 stats (at Corona Centennial): 21 catches for 435 yards, 3 TDs, 8 carries for 32 yards

Negro on his running backs: "At the running back spot we have two guys that are returning sophomores going to be juniors. Last year, we had three senior running backs so these guys played in limited action but Khalil Warren is a class of 2024 and Chauncey Sylvester is another class of 2024. We also have Cameron Jones and Eric Denham who are two transfers who came in and will provide us with some depth at the position. Those guys are all very capable. They’re all physical downhill type runners. I don’t necessarily feel they have the explosiveness right now that Speedy Luke, Jabari Bates, and Michael Hayes had but they are all three dimensional backs. They can protect in the pass game, they can certainly run the football both inside and out, and they’re also really good in the pass game whether it’s pass protection or releasing them into routes. We’re going to play with a single back but we will be in two backs quite a bit this year because of the depth we have at that position.”

WR DeAndre Moore — Sr. — 5-11, 190

Louisville commit

2021 stats (at Los Alamitos): 33 catches for 479 yards and 8 TDs, 23 carries for 152 yards, 3 TDs

WR Jahlil McClain — Sr. — 5-foot-10, 160 pounds

2022 Preseason Power 25 Photo Shoot with St. John Bosco. Photo-Heston Quan96

Louisville commit

2021 stats: 11 catches for 136 yards and 1 TD

WR/CB Israel Polk — Sr. — 6-1, 160

Offer sheet: Over 10 offers including Cal, Oregon State and Washington State

2021 stats (at Pittsburg): 18 catches for 235 yards, 2 TDs; 17 tackles, 3 INTs, 2 tackles for loss

WR Zacharyus Williams — Jr. — 6-2, 185

Offer sheet: Arizona State, Florida State and Pittsburgh

2021 stats: 3 catches for 97 yards, 1 TD

WR Hayden Eligon II — Jr. — 6-3, 180

Offer sheet: Arizona, Cal and Louisville

WR Tommy Maher — Jr. — 5-9, 170

WR Joseph De La Torre — So. — 5-11, 180

WR Kamryn Jones — So. — 6-2, 200

Offer sheet: Boston College, Georgia, Louisville, Nebraska, Tennessee and Washington

Negro on his wide receivers: “At the wide receiver position, Jahlil McClain is a returner and starter for us. He's a really talented guy along with Zacharyus Williams, another guy that’s super talented and has got a lot of upside to him. Tommy Maher is a slot receiver for us, returning guy. Those guys are all very able and capable receivers that are going to help us out. Eric Denham, who I mentioned with the running backs, he’s going to play a little bit in the slot as well to provide some depth there. We also have Hayden Eligon II, a junior who's had a fantastic offseason and a great spring. DeAndre Moore is a transfer from Los Alamitos. He’s really going to help us along with Israel Polk who comes down from Pittsburg High School. Both of those guys are going to factor into what we’re doing there. We have two other kids that I think are going to do some real damage for us and that’s Kameron Jones, he’s going to be a sophomore, and then Joseph De La Torre. Those guys are up from our freshman squad last year and they are going to factor in.”

TE/DE Matayo Uiagalelei — Sr. — 6-5, 270

2022 Preseason Power 25 Photo Shoot with St. John Bosco. Photo-Heston Quan99

Offer sheet: 20 offers including Alabama, Ohio State, Oregon and USC

2021 stats: 24 catches for 335 yards and 6 TDs on offense, 21 tackles, 6 tackles for loss on defense, 1 INT

Negro: "At the tight end position we have Matayo who’s returning. He's a very talented two-way starter for us who also plays defensive end. I’m really excited about him.”

OL Sean Na'a — Sr. — 6-0, 285

2022 Preseason Power 25 Photo Shoot with St. John Bosco. Photo-Heston Quan83 (1)

Offer sheet: Seven offers including Arizona State

OL Matai Jefferson — Sr. — 6-4, 350

Offer sheet: Texas

OL Mark Lutke — Sr. — 6-0, 285

OL Matthew Perdue — So. — 6-1, 260

OL Tueni Melalipi — Sr. — 5-9, 340

OL Mosiah Talanoa — Sr. — 6-3, 325

Offer sheet: Florida Atlantic and New Mexico State

OL Sean Haney — Sr. — 6-2, 280

OL King Large — Jr. — 6-3, 295

Offer sheet: Morgan State

OL Jett Serna — Jr. — 6-4, 350

OL Puka Moe — So. — 6-1, 355

Negro on his offensive line: “The offensive line is where I think we have the greatest amount of depth and we have the most amount of experience returning. We probably have 11 or 12 capable offensive linemen so we’re still trying to figure out which combination is the best."

DL Epi Sitanilei — So. — 6-4, 215

Offer sheet: Eight offers including USC

DL Sua Lefotu - Sr. - 6-4, 305

Washington commit

2021 stats: 4 tackles, 2 tackles for loss

DL Vaka Hansen — Sr. — 6-1, 295

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Offer sheet: Fresno State and TCU

2021 stats (at Servite): 28 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries

DL Dutch Horisk — Fr. — 6-1, 240

Offer sheet: Arizona, Louisville, USC

DL Max Amasio — So. — 5-8, 250

2021 stats: 3 tackles

DL Jailen Perkins — Sr. — 5-10, 250

2021 stats: 14 tackles, 2 tackles for loss

DL Vertonio Weatherton — Sr. — 6-2, 265

2021 stats: 9 tackles, 1 tackle for loss

DL Ah-Zaire Piggee — Sr. — 6-3, 275

DL Kingston Nombrado — So. — 6-0, 230

Negro on his defensive linemen: "We’re young on the defensive line, but we’re incredibly talented. Matayo is obviously our starting defensive end.  Vertonio Weatherton will also start. He's another guy that is going to be one of our top guys. On the inside we have Vaka Hansen who’s a transfer from Servite. Jailen Perkins is another guy that’s playing on the inside that’s going to help us out quite a bit. Sua Lefotu will also factor in. We have another young man playing inside for us that’s really burst onto the scene this year named Ah-Zaire Piggee. He’s a four year guy for us but he's had to wait his turn. He was playing behind seniors last year. Max Amasio will be another inside guy for us. We have an incoming freshman named Dutch Horisk who’s a phenom. We really like him. We've only had two other kids play varsity for us as freshmen. Dutch will definitely play and he might be the first ever freshman to start — he’s that talented. We have another kid named Epi Sitanilei. Epi is another guy that’s a defensive end who is long range type of kid. Kingston Nombrado is another guy who will factor into that depth. We’re going to have to have a lot of depth early, especially playing in Texas. We’re going to have to rotate in a lot of guys to keep fresh because the weather down there is going to be brutal.”

LB Deven Bryant— Sr. — 6-0, 215

Preseason Power 25 Photo Shoot - St. John Bosco

Washington commit

2021 stats: 86 tackles, 4 sacks, 3 forced fumbles

LB Kyngstonn Viliamu-Asa — Jr. — 6-3, 225

2022 Preseason Power 25 Photo Shoot with St. John Bosco. Photo-Heston Quan73 (1)

Offer sheet: 18 offers including Notre Dame, Ohio State and USC

2021 stats: DNP (knee injury)

LB Khmori House — Jr. — 6-0, 195

Offer sheet: Morgan State, Oregon, San Jose State

2021 stats: 17 tackles, 1.5 for loss

LB Jordan Lockhart — Jr. — 6-2, 220

Offer sheet: 12 offers including Alabama, Ole Miss and USC

2021 stats: 12 tackles, 1.5 sacks

LB Sir Tyler Thomas - Jr. - 6-0, 210

2021 stats: 5 tackles, 1 for loss

LB/RB Hoi Hansen - Jr. - 5-11, 210

2021 stats (at Servite): 14 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 75 carries for 352 yards and 1 TD on offense

Negro on his linebackers: "We’re very very deep here. We’ve got a lot of talent with Kygston Viliamu-Asa and Deven Bryant. Those are two guys along with Jordan Lockhart, Khmori House and Sir Tyler Thomas. All of those dudes are going to play at the next level. Hoi Hansen will also factor in for us."

CB Marcelles Williams — Jr. — 5-11, 170

2022 Preseason Power 25 Photo Shoot with St. John Bosco. Photo-Heston Quan97 (2)

Offer sheet: Over 30 offers including Notre Dame, Ohio State and USC

2021 stats: 42 tackles

CB Aaron Williams — Sr. — 6-1, 180

Louisville commit

2021 stats (at Corona Centennial): 32 tackles, 2 for loss

CB Jshawn Frausto-Ramos — Sr. — 6-0, 180

2022 Preseason Power 25 Photo Shoot with St. John Bosco. Photo-Heston Quan77

Stanford commit

2021 stats: 19 tackles

CB Frankie Edwards Jr. — 5-10, 170

2021 stats: 2 tackles

CB Tamal Johnson — Jr. — 5-11, 160

CB Nethaneel Loolo — Sr. — 5-8, 170

2021 stats: 9 tackles

Negro on his corners: “At the corner spot, we have Jshawn Frausto-Ramos, we have Marcelles Williams, we have Aaron Williams from Corona Centennial, and we also have Frankie Edwards who is going to be a junior that has been at Bosco since he was a freshman. Those four guys are factoring in at the corner spot. Another guy that’s doing a really good job for us, his name is Nethaneel Loolo, him and Tamal Johnson are both guys that are playing our star position and we're super excited about them.”

S Peyton Woodyard — Jr. — 6-2, 195

2022 Preseason Power 25 Photo Shoot with St. John Bosco. Photo-Heston Quan69

Offer sheet: Over 30 offers including Alabama, Georgia and USC

2021 stats: 62 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery

S RJ Jones — Sr. — 6-1, 200

2022 Preseason Power 25 Photo Shoot with St. John Bosco. Photo-Heston Quan24 (1)

Cal commit

2021 stats: 36 tackles, 1 INT, 2 fumble recoveries

S Ty Lee — Sr. — 6-3, 190

2022 Preseason Power 25 Photo Shoot with St. John Bosco. Photo-Heston Quan34

UCLA commit

2021 stats: 40 tackles, 1 INT, 2 fumble recoveries

S Hunter Nowell — Sr. — 6-1, 200

2022 Preseason Power 25 Photo Shoot with St. John Bosco. Photo-Heston Quan99 (2)

Offer sheet: Charlotte and San Jose State

2021 stats: 6 tackles

Negro on his safeties: “We’re super loaded in our secondary. We have RJ Jones, Peyton Woodyard and Ty Lee. Those three guys at the safety spot are all very very talented guys. Hunter Noel is another one that’s playing back there. He's very skilled. They’re all multidimensional guys that can play in the run game, they can play in two high safety concepts or a single high set. We do so much stuff versatility wise on defense that they can all play those types of formations and coverages. We can move them around and do a lot of stuff with them.”

IMPACT TRANSFERS IN

  • Deandre Moore — 2023 WR — Los Alamitos (Louisville commit)
  • Aaron Williams — 2023 CB — Los Alamitos (Louisville commit)
  • Eric Denham — 2023 WR/RB — Corona Centennial
  • Israel Polk — 2023 WR — Pittsburg
  • Vaka Hansen — 2023 DL — Servite
  • Sean Na'a — 2023 OL — Westlake
  • Hoi Hansen — 2024 LB/RB — Servite
  • Cameron Jones — 2024 RB — Corona Centennial

REGULAR SEASON GAME(S) OF THE YEAR

St. John Bosco hasn't beaten Mater Dei since 2019, but when these two teams play, it's always an epic high school football game. This season's showdown should be one of the best matchups yet...

The Kahuku game is another one to watch. The Red Raiders are arguably the top team in Hawaii. St. John Bosco should win this game, but it might be closer than some anticipate.  

BEST-CASE SCENARIO

10-0 and a berth in the Division 1 Southern Section playoffs

On paper, the Braves have the most talent in California high school football. St. John Bosco is a national program and they'll play like it this season. 

MOST REALISTIC SCENARIO

10-0 and a Division 1 playoff berth

We picked the Braves as our No. 1 team in the country to begin the season. We expect an undefeated year if the team can stay healthy. 

COACH SAID

"I think this team has the makings of a championship team without question. I mean there’s still a lot to be determined, but we’ve certainly done a good job of putting ourselves in a position to be successful. I think our schedule is going to allow us to be talked about in terms of national rankings at the end if we can complete this thing the way we think we can. Since I’ve been here at Bosco, we’ve only had one undefeated team and that was back in 2013. This team certainly has the makings to do that, but when you play the schedule that we play and you have to play the quality opponents that are as well coached as we have to, going undefeated is certainly one of the challenging things that you have to try and overcome. But this team has the makings of that. We’re certainly going to have to have a lot of luck along the way. We have to stay healthy. It’s a physical game and we play some physical opponents. We also have to travel twice which is not easy on a young man at the high school level to do. So there’s a lot of factors that go into it, but on paper we’re as good as any team that we’ve had here at Bosco.”

— Jason Negro

2022 Preseason Power 25 Photo Shoot with St. John Bosco. Photo-Heston Quan48 (1)