Freshman Quarterback Elijah Brown Throws For Four TDs As Mater Dei Football Tops St. John Bosco To Clinch State (Spring) Team Of The Year •
George Pahulu first approached SportStars about covering Tongan and Samoan athletes for the magazine back in 2017. He’s covered several games for us since then under the series name, “Pahulu’s Point Of View.” With football finally back for a quick spring season, he’s returned to sending us occasional breakdowns. His NorCal reports from this short season included Menlo-Atherton’s defeat of Half Moon Bay, and Monterey Trail’s defeat of Clayton Valley.
This is his report from the season-ending clash between SoCal’s two giants.
DATE: Saturday, April 17, 2021
MATCHP: St. John Bosco-Bellflower @ Mater Dei-Santa Ana
GAME INFO: The defending CIF Open Division State Bowl champion, St. John Bosco visited Santa Ana Stadium to play Southern California’s other football powerhouse, Mater Dei. With a combined 59 players being 3-star rated or above, the matchup was as high-profile as they come for this spring season finale. Mater Dei would prevail 34-17.
PLAYERS I CAME TO SEE: I was on hand to watch a number of Tongan student-athletes. From Mater Dei, I had my eyes on junior defensive tackle Sione Moa, junior defensive end Jacob Kongaika and freshman defensive tackle standout Kaho Tuihalamaka. Mater Dei junior running back Raleek Brown was also on my radar. Brown transferred from Edison-Stockton as recently gave an oral commitment to Oklahoma.
On the other side of the ball, I was watching for St. John Bosco’s Tongan free safety Sione “Riz” Hala as well as Samoan sophomore tight end/defensive end Matayo Uiagalelei. He’s the brother of DJ Uiagalelei, the 2019 Mr. State Football (CalHiSports.com) and next in line to play quarterback for Clemson.
• Mater Dei sophomore linebacker Leviticus Su’a scores a huge sack of Braves QB Pierce Clarkson on a 3rd-and-11 in the opening quarter.
• Mater Dei strikes first when freshman quarterback Elijah Brown throws an 18-yard TD pass to junior wideout CJ Williams.
• St. John Bosco, which rotates two quarterbacks, switches to Katin Houser. However, the game-tying score came on a 66-yard run by Jabari Bates with 4:12 remaining in the first quarter.
• Bosco would take the lead on a 26-yard TD pass from Clarkson to Uiagalelei.
• Brown and Williams then connected again for Mater Dei, tying the game again with a 26-yard strike.
• The Monarchs then took the lead for good on a 64-yard bomb from Brown to USC-bound Kyron Ware-Hudson. They would add a 28-yard field goal and lead 24-14 at the half.
• Bosco’s final points came in the third quarter on a 27-yard field goal that kept it a one-possession game, 24-17.
• Brown then threw his fourth TD of the night on a 12-yard pass to Josiah Zamora. Mater Dei would add a short fourth-quarter field goal to complete the scoring.
• The Monarchs defense also got into the mix as defensive back Domani Jackson intercepted Clarkson to seal the win.
• Brown finished 14 of 23 for 203 passing yards, four TDs and no picks.
• Ware-Hudson had two receptions for 71 yards and a TD.
• Su’a had two sacks for Mater Dei
Monarchs’ freshman Kaho Tuihalamaka’s older brother Samuela (class of 2017) was the first Tongan student-athlete to graduate from Mater Dei on a football scholarship. He attended Oklahoma State. Elijah Brown is one of Mater Dei quarterbacks to ever make a varsity start as a freshman. The other three were Matt Barkley (USC), JT Daniels (USC-Georgia) and Todd Marinovich (USC).
What a way to end California’s last-minute spring football season. This was my first chance to watch a SoCal high school game, and I was very impressed with what these two powerhouse football programs are doing. They are bringing in Tongan student-athletes to elevate their programs. Tongan assistant coaches Keola Fineanganofo and Steve Fifita have helped the Mater Dei football program with this Tongan pipeline. I definitely look forward to watching this SoCal rematch in the fall. The rivalry certainly lived up to expectations.
Till next fall. Ofa Atu.